Kankuamos could be an odd name even for Colombians. But it is one of the names of those indigenous communities that have stand along years as a minority, fighting to preserve its ancient American language and traditions. The end of 2008 was not properly the best for its indigenous reservation. During the traditional celebrations to receive the new year, a man who has not been identified, exploded an IM-26 bomb in the place where there was the perform of a traditional dance.
67 persons were injured and four more died in the spot. The National Organization of the Colombian Indigenous (ONIC) condemned the act and called for solidarity with the Kankuamos, an indigenous community of the northern State of César, one hour from Valledupar.
It was about 23:20 of 31rst December in Atánquez, the provincial capital of the Kankuamo reservation in Cesar. As it is traditional every year, hundred of persons from different regions of the community gathered in the spot to welcome the new year. Dances, traditional performances and other cultural activities are contemplated to preserve the identity of one of the ancient cultures of the Colombian territory.
The patio fresco, an open space for dance, was full of people when an unidentified man threw a fragmentation grenade against a mango tree. According to the witnesses, the impact in the tree minimized the mortal effect of the bomb.
Three women and a man lost their lives in the incident: Gloria Lucía Arias, 26 y.o., mother of three children; Marelvis Mindiola Díaz, 45 y.o., mother of 4 children; María Teresa Arias Caceres, 24 y.o., mother of three children and Azael Arias Pinto, 25 y.o., father of two children.
The injured persons, 67, were brought to the city of Valledupar and two of them were amputee of their feet. The indigenous community underlined that Atánquez, the capital of the indigenous reservation, has two medical centers, but there were not doctors in the place at the moment of the incident. However, the ambulance was available and several persons with car offered to bring injured people to Valledupar that is located at only one hour from Atánquez.
Several organizations and sectors of the Colombian society joined the condemnation stated by ONIC and the Kankuamos for the attack. The call for solidarity with the community has been answered also and ONIC opened an account to attend the victims. The author of the crime still under investigation.
Account No: 051055077
Account Name: Onic.
More information in http://www.onic.org.co