BOGOTA, Colombia – Hundreds of Indians in Colombia armed with little more than wooden staffs have corralled several Marxist guerrillas and intend to bring them to justice for the killing of two tribe members.
The fate of the seven rebels is to be decided Sunday at an assembly of Nasa Indians on their self-governed reservation in the southwestern department of Cauca. The alleged perpetrators could face punishment in stocks or forced labor, indigenous leaders told The Associated Press.
Guerrillas allegedly killed two tribe members on Wednesday while removing banners commemorating the death three years ago of Alfonso Cano, the top commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia who was slain during a military assault.
As word of the killings spread, some 300 tribesman pursued the suspected killers.
"They were surrounded and forced to surrender," said Gabriel Padi, a senior member of the indigenous council in Cauca.
Colombia's government has condemned the killings, which took place as negotiations with the group known as the FARC to end the half-century uprising head into their critical, final phase.
"It's unforgivable that while we make progress in negotiations in Havana to end the Colombian conflict, the FARC continue attacking civilian populations in this way," chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle said in a statement Friday from the Cuban capital.
Human rights groups say 40 members of indigenous tribes have been killed this year in Colombia, many at the hands of guerrillas.