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Mapuche leader condemns arson attack on family home

Mapuche leader condemns arson attack on family home
January 09
13:12 2012
chile news, noticias chile

An aerial view of forest fires in the Carahue-Tirúa region. Photo: @javier_cerda

TEMUCO — Jose Santos Millao, historical Mapuche leader and currently director of the National Indigenous Development Corporation, CONADI, has declared that the fire that broke out in his parents’ house, located in Purén, was arson.

At the time the fire broke out, Santos Millao was attending the funeral of the firefighters who died combating the Carahue forest fires. However one of his sisters was in the house at the time, which contained a number of artifacts of historical value.

Police say that soon after hooded assailants also torched the home of a retired military officer and fired at police officers in the area.

In a conversation with Radio Cooperativa, the Mapuche leader said tensions are running high in the Araucanía region, particularly since Piñera has applied the anti-terror law before establishing the cause of the fires. According to Santos Millao, this amounts to a declaration of war for the Mapuches.

The news comes amid suggestions, principally from Interior Minister Rodrigo Hintzpeter,  that Mapuche activists could be responsible for the outbreak of forest fires that have destroyed around 50,000 hectares of land.

However, Mapuche activists, although in disagreement with the forestry companies they say have taken over their land, have strongly denied the allegations, claiming that the government is trying to criminalize their movement.

chile news, noticias chile

Marianne Tweedie

Marianne is a native of the UK and was a journalist for I Love Chile in 2011 and early 2012. While in Santiago, Chile, she also worked as an English teacher in the English Opens Doors program.

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