Photo: Yukpa Leader Sabino Romero Killed
Venezuela’s information minister on Monday said that the investigation to identify the killers of Yukpa indigenous leader Sabino Romero “is under way.”
“We cannot put forward a hypothesis with regard to this reprehensible ... deed ... but in general it puts on the table the struggle for a fair distribution of land ... The investigation is under way,” Sabino Villegas said on state television.
Members of the security forces were deployed in the country’s western state of Zulia, bordering Colombia, where the killing occurred, to conduct appropriate operations, he said.
Romero, 48, was murdered Sunday night by two hooded assailants on motorcycles who opened fire on his vehicle, the Venezuelan News Agency reported. So far, no arrests have been made in the case.
The Plataforma Foro por la Vida, which represents 17 Venezuelan non-governmental organizations, asked in a communique for an “impartial, expeditious, transparent and (speedy) investigation of the material and intellectual authorship” of the crime.
It also asked the government for guarantees concerning the physical safety of Romero’s Yukpa community “against possible attacks.”
Romero was arrested in late 2010 and recently released, but he had been linked at the time to violent acts stemming from the land dispute.