Kichwa Tribal Leader Fatally Shot Amidst Tensions with Illegal Loggers in Peruvian Rainforest

Indigenous Kichwa tribal leader Quinto Inuma Alvarado

Quinto Inuma Alvarado, a Kichwa tribal leader, was tragically shot and killed in the Peruvian Amazon, an area plagued by conflict between Indigenous communities and illegal loggers. The incident occurred as Alvarado was returning from a workshop focused on women environmental leaders in the San Martín region. According to his son, Kevin Arnol Inuma Mandruma, assailants obstructed their river path with a tree trunk and opened fire on the boat carrying Alvarado and his family.

Peruvian police have confirmed Alvarado’s death. In the attack, Alvarado sustained three gunshot wounds to the back and one to the head, while his aunt was also injured. Kevin Inuma, who was not present during the incident, reported that his brother and mother witnessed the attack and recounted it to him.

Alvarado had previously received numerous death threats linked to his opposition to illegal logging. “They’ve tried to kill him several times, with beatings and now gunfire,” Kevin Inuma stated.

The Peruvian ministries of Interior, Environment, Justice and Human Rights, and Culture issued a joint statement condemning the “cowardly” attack and promising a thorough investigation by the National Police.

Alvarado’s community, reportedly left to fend for themselves against illegal loggers, has faced frequent attacks. Last year, an Associated Press investigation revealed that Kichwa tribes lost significant ancestral land for the establishment of Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park. Despite the monetization of this land through carbon credits, the Kichwa received no compensation and faced restricted access to traditional hunting and foraging grounds.

The Forest Peoples Programme highlighted the vulnerability of Kichwa communities due to the lack of legal recognition of their ancestral lands, leaving them defenseless against environmental crimes and rights violations. The organization emphasized that Alvarado’s death underscores the prevailing impunity in such cases.

Lou Nightingale
Author: Lou Nightingale

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