Colombian soldiers detained for killing of husband of Indigenous leader

Seven members of the Colombian army unit which is alleged to have killed the husband of an Indigenous leader have been detained, according to media reports.

Amnesty International has welcomed the news and called for a thorough and independent criminal investigation to identify and prosecute all those responsible, as well as to uncover the real motives behind the killing.

Media reported that seven soldiers, including two junior officers, have been detained by judicial police for their alleged part in the killing of Edwin Legarda in December 2008.

He was fatally injured after being shot by the security forces while travelling to the city of Popayán in Cauca Department, in the south of the country.

He had gone to pick up his wife, Aída Quilcué, leader of the Indigenous organization, Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca (CRIC). She had just returned from a session on Colombia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“”Edwin Legarda’s killing is symptomatic of growing concerns about extrajudicial killings carried out by the security forces and the vulnerability of Indigenous People and their leaders,” said Marcelo Pollack, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

“Any investigation into Edwin Legarda’s killing must ascertain whether the vehicle in which he was travelling in was deliberately targeted and whether Aída Quilcué was in fact the intended target.”