Mining Guards Kidnap International Observers in Honduras

31 Jul

from SOA Watch

On July 25, two international accompaniers from the Honduras Accompaniment Project (PROAH), from Switzerland and France, were held captive for two and a half hours in the community of La Nueva Esperanza by armed men who guard the mining operations of Lenir Pérez, the owner of Minerales Victoria.

The armed men have been in this rural community in the department of Atlántida for almost two months, terrorizing the villagers and threatening those who refuse to sell their land to the mining company. The threats are so serious that some villagers have been forced to flee their homes. So far, the authorities have totally failed to respond to the situation there, and to date, the armed men continue in the village.

At 9:00 am on July 25, seven heavily armed men arrived at the house where the international accompaniers were visiting a family that has been threatened for refusing to sell their land. The armed men pointed their shotguns at the two accompaniers, reinforced by between 25 and 30 men with machetes, workers from the mining exploration site. After an hour, the leader of the armed men forced the members of PROAH to leave the house, threatening to use force if necessary. He also said that if they returned, they ‘would be disappeared in the woods.’

He forced them to walk for half an hour to La Nueva Esperanza, surrounded by the men armed with guns and machetes, who sexually intimidated the French accompanier, who is female. They were forced to delete the photos they had taken of the machinery used for the mining exploration. Then, Wilfredo Funes and an engineer from the mining company made them get into a pickup, with three armed men in the back. Before releasing them, Wilfredo Funes said if the members of PROAH reported the incident, the community would suffer reprisals. Click here to call for an investigation into the kidnapping of the international accompaniers!

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