Mexico Clash Over Pipeline Leaves 1 Dead in Yaqui Community
Published 22 October 2016
The community of Loma de Bacum opposes the pipeline over safety and environmental concerns.
An Indigenous leader accused “provocateurs” of inciting violence in a Yaqui community in the northern Mexican state of Sonora that is at the heart of a conflict over the construction of a hydrocarbon pipeline that will cross their territory.
Teodulo Gonzalez, commissioner for the defense of land, water and human rights of the Yaqui tribe, said a group of people descended on a site where land defenders have set up a camp to prevent the construction of the pipeline and started a physical confrontation.
The clash reportedly lasted three hours and ultimately left one dead and eight injured. AP reported the man was killed as a result of gunfire.
“It was a provocation by the state government and the IENova company to finish with the defense of the territory,” Gonzalez told Proceso magazine.
State security officials descended on the community but according to witnesses did nothing to contain the violence.
Adolfo Garcia Morales, head of public security in Sonora, said the clash, involving a total of 400 people, was between members of the Yaqui people.
Mario Luna, a spokesman for the Yaquis, told AP that disagreements within the tribe have been ongoing, with some communities refusing to allow the pipeline to cross their territory.
“They have the agreement from the majority of the towns. However, here the decisions are not made by a majority, but rather by consensus,” Luna told AP.
The clash took place in Loma de Bacum, one of the holdout communities, where leaders have opposed the pipeline over safety and environmental concerns.
The concession to build the pipeline was granted by the Mexican government in 2012.
The proposed pipeline, being built by IENova for Mexico’s Federal Electric Commission, is designed to bring natural gas from across the border in Arizona to the Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa.
One dead and 8 injured in a fight between residents of Sonora
By: Cristina Gómez Lima, correspondent
Hermosillo, Sonora. One dead, eight injured and twelve vehicles burned was the result of a confrontation between residents of the Lomas de Bácum and Lomas de Guamúchil communities, who disagree over construction of the Northwest gas pipeline, which is projected to cross territory that the Yaqui tribe inhabits in southern Sonora.
The Secretary of state Public Security, Adolfo García Morales reported that municipal, state and federal agents cordoned off the zone of the confrontations, as well as members of the Secretariat of National Defense, who activated the code red in the southern community of Sonora.
“Armored vehicles entered conflict zone and through loudspeakers they ordered them to put down their weapons, we are going to be very alert in order to avoid new confrontations now that the security bodies are there, as well as the Mexican Army and the Federal Police,” García Morales stated.
For their part, leaders of the Lomas de Bácum Tribe assured that there were two confrontations, one after the arrival of members of the Army; in their numbers they count 7 indigenous Yaquis dead, 30 injured and their governor José Bacaumea and their secretary Martín Valencia disappeared.
The TransCanada Corporation is in charge of the project.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, October 21, 2016