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Mapuche Leaders Arrested: Student Kidnapped and Murdered

Bristol, 25th April, 1984

The Comite Exterior Mapuche wishes to bring to the attention of all humanitarian, social, political and human rights groups, and of governments and churches, criminal acts perpetrated by the Chilean military junta against the Mapuche people of Chile.

We have learned that, on the 22 of April, the following Mapuche leaders were arrested by the repressive forces of General Pinochet: Aurelio Huaiquiñir; Jose Huenchual; Jose Luis Huilcaman; Rosamel Millaman, Juan Neculqueo; Maria Lucy Traipe; Vilma Painequeo: all leaders of the Association of Small Farmers and Artisans Ad-Mapu, with its headquarters in Temuco. In addition, a number of Mapuche people 'disappeared', and the authorities later revealed that these people had been sent to the north of the country, which constitutes a form of exile and serves as a measure of intimidation against the whole of the Mapuche community. Amongst those removed from their own land are: Jose Santos Millao, president of Ad-Mapu, and Domingo Jineo Antinao, treasurer of the organisation. There are also orders to arrest several other Mapuche leaders.

On the 23rd of January, Manuel Melin Pehuen, a student, was kidnapped on his way from his community, near Nueva Imperial, to Temuco. Four days later, a sergeant from the Almagro police station informed his parents that he was dead and that his body was in Traiguen hospital. A clandestine right-wing commando claimed responsibility for the murder. Several days after this tragic event, a funeral wreath was sent to the Ad-Mapu headquarters with 21 letters addressed individually to Mapuche leaders and threatening them with a similar fate to that of Manuel Melin. A few days later, Jose Huenchual was attacked in the headquarters of the Association by individuals carrying truncheons, and was left seriously injured.

On the 27th of March a meeting arranged at Tirua District and attended by numerous Mapuche people from local communities was interrupted by approximately 100 police who violently attacked the people present, many of whom were beaten and injured, others shot with automatic weapons, including a boy of eight years.

The object of these attacks is to try to stop the Mapuche people fighting for their autonomy, political independence, independent economic development and the right to self-determination and to live in their ancestral lands. The Mapuche also demand the revocation of Decree 2568, a law, arbitrarily imposed on the Mapuches, in order to divide up for private sale the land they have traditionally held communally.

We are asking for letters to be sent to Presidente Augusto Pinochet, the Ministro del Interior, Sergio Onofre Jarpa and the Intendente de Temuco, Mario Alfonso Navarrette, as well as the Chilean Embassies in other parts of the world, demanding the release of those arrested and an enquiry into the death of Manuel Melin Pehuen, so that those guilty of his murder can be brought to justice.

Comite Exterior Mapuche

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