Miguel Ángel Alpala was an active member of the Indigenous Authorities of Colombia (AICO), the Justice Commission of the Pastos peoples and of the School of Proper Law.
He was an outstanding defender of human rights and also participated in the Sixth Organizational and Organizational Minga Integration in the Colomba Indigenous Reserve.
He had recently helped coordinate indigenous and rural protests, known as ‘la Minga’, which affected large parts of the country.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning 16th April 2019, the indigenous leader Miguel Ángel Alpala of the Resguardo de Gran Cumbal of the town of Los Pastos, died in the Civil Hospital of Ipiales.
He had been in a serious condition, after armed men entered his home and shot him multiple times, in the Cuaical village, Cumbal municipality.
This comes two weeks after he was attacked in Cumbal in the southern region of Nariño.
Source: Justice for Colombia
Also on Wednesday, an indigenous Embera woman, Remedia Aizama, was murdered in the Campo Alegre community in Chocó, western Colombia. A 12-year-old girl was injured in the attack, which saw at least 40 people forcibly displaced from the community.
The regions where the killings occurred are among the most unstable in Colombia. Paramilitaries and armed groups compete with one another for control of drugs trafficking and other illegal economies. This has brought them into direct conflict with local communities which oppose their presence. The crisis is compounded by the state’s weak presence and the lack of security in many parts of the country.
According to the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia (ONIC), more than 60 indigenous leaders and activists have been killed since President Iván Duque entered office in August last year.