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A caravan of international human rights activists was ambushed this week as it headed into the besieged region of San Juan Copala in Mexico. The caravan, consisting of members from Finland, Germany, Italy and Belguim as well as Mexican indigenous rights groups and worker’s unions, was forced to turn back after the paramilitary group Ubisort blockaded the path of the vehicles.

The San Juan Copola municipality declared itself autonomous from the Mexican state in 2006 and is home to some 16,000 indigenous Trique indians. Since the declaration of independence, paramilitary groups linked to the state ruling party PRI have kept the area under siege, preventing the inhabitants from accessing basic food supplies, electricity and travelling freely in and out of the region. Activists claim shots have been heard ringing out in the community on a daily basis.

This latest ambush follows a brutal attack on a previous caravan that was bringing supplies to the area in April. A twenty-minute hail of bullets was fired at the group of around 30 international activists, killing two people while the wounded others fled into the mountains where they trekked, some for days, to find safety. The government at the time refused to respond with any search or rescue effort. One of the survivors of this violence has now called for a larger international caravan to return to show support for the community.

 * See

Keywords: aid convoy, mexico


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