SANTIAGO – Two incendiary assaults occurred in the regions of Araucanía and Bio Bío during the early morning of Friday, August 24. Trucks and machinery were destroyed by the fire, and one person sustained injuries. Personnel from the Public Ministry and the police are investigating the attacks.
The two recent incendiary attacks destroyed five trucks and four forestry machines. The first one occurred in the community of Curanilahue, in Bio Bío region around 1 a.m. The attack affected a farm in the sector of Cancha El Topo. Hooded men entered the working place, intimidated workers and burned three trucks.
Arauco’s governor, María Bélgica Tripailaf, said that banners were found referring to the Mapuche cause. Governor Bélgica Tripailaf also said the farm didn’t receive police protection. “Four hooded men intimidated the drivers of two trucks that belonged to Tranvía enterprise, and also the driver of one crane from Transel Ltda., who were providing their services to the farm,” the governor said.
“Once they forced the drivers out of the trucks, the attacker burnt the vehicles. Then they ran away into the forest,” the governor added.
One of the drivers sustained injuries while escaping from the attack. The injured was taken to Curanilahue Hospital. According to the governor, a group called Coordinadora Arauco Malleco (CAM), claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, no one has been detained so far.
— La Tercera (@latercera) August 24, 2018
The attack in La Araucanía
Later that morning, around 3 a.m., a similar incident occurred on the route between the localities of Pitrufquén and Villarica in Araucanía region. During the assault, two trucks and four forestry machines were destroyed. According to Radio Bío Bío, a group of five or so people entered the property and started shooting and intimidated the farm keeper, who went into hiding.
After taking over the place, the perpetrators sprinkled gasoline over six vehicles used for farm works. The vehicles burnt were two trucks, three bulldozers, and one front loader. Part of the machinery burnt belonged to small businessmen who provide services to the aggregate enterprise that operates on the land. The attackers’ identity remains unknown, but the prosecutor on duty ordered the police to start investigating as soon as possible.
It is not the first time that incendiary attacks occurred in the region. Throughout years, many farms have come under attack, presumably by Mapuche extremist groups that struggle for a fair distribution of lands.
Coordinadora Arauco Malleco
The Coordinadora Arauco Malleco (CAM) is a Mapuche political organization, which fights for the rights of its people. The organization wants to force the government to return the ancestral lands that are a heritage of the Mapuche people. Ever since the Chilean military campaigns in the 19th century, aimed to incorporate Mapuche territory under the Chilean flag, the Mapuche have resisted against what they see as occupiers of their land. The military operation, ironically called the Pacification of Araucanía, resulted in the deaths of thousands of Mapuche people and destruction of large parts of their cultural heritage.