María Nelly Cuetia Dagua and Pedro María Ángel Tróchez were indigenous leaders and traditional doctors in the Nasa community of Los Andes in the municipality of Corinto, Cauca.
On 28 May, 2020, as the two community elders were carrying out a spiritual ritual armed men arrived at their home, forced them both into a truck and drove off.
The rest of the community contacted their traditional leaders and started an immediate search. The next morning the bodies of María Nelly and Pedro María were found dumped in a remote area about sixteen kilometres away. They had both been shot and the bodies showed signs of torture.
The local community believe that this is a deliberate attempt to stamp out traditional indigenous culture in the area by targeting community leaders.
According to a Nasa spokesperson “This is an act of the most astonishing barbarism and contempt for the life and survival of our Nasa people. The murder of elders is an act of destruction of a people’s memory and knowledge. It is the consummation of the extermination project that aims to devastate the territory and the culture of the people.”