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HRD Attack

23 Aug 2021

Indigenous communities in Bosawas nature reserve

Incident date
23 Aug 2021
Date accuracy
All Correct
Not applicable
Indigenous peoples
Target: Group, Organisation or Institution
Location of Incident: Nicaragua
Other actors


Settlers have again attacked Indigenous communities in Bosawas nature reserve on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, killing at least 18 members of the Miskito and Mayangna people, activists and environmentalists. The reserve has been hit by illegal mining and logging despite its status as a protected area, and activists have reported several attacks on Indigenous people. The Center for Legal Assistance to Indigenous Peoples said in a statement that Indigenous residents were attacked “with machetes and guns, and were tortured. They hung their bodies from a tree.” The Center for Justice and Human Rights on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua said at least 49 Indigenous people have been killed by settlers since January, and many others were forced to flee. Activists say many of the settlers moving onto the lands are former soldiers linked to timber and illegal logging interests. Two women were allegedly sexually abused by settlers and one was dismembered in front of her partner. The dead victims also include a six-year-old child, according to updated information shared by the Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indígenas (Calpi) and by environmentalist Amaru Ruiz, president of the Fundación del Río. The attack happened on 23 August, between 7:00 and 9:00 at night on Kiwakumbaih (Devil's Rock, in Mayangna), a historic hill considered a sacred site and a place for hunting and fishing by the indigenous people, according to Ruiz. The civil organisation said that, based on the reports received, the attackers are part of a gang called Kukalón, made up of between 40 and 100 settlers "armed with weapons of war, led by Isabel Meneses, a criminal gang also accused of having perpetrated the massacre of the Community of Alal in January 2020, and that the attackers are part of a gang called Kukalón, made up of between 40 and 100 settlers "armed with weapons of war, led by Isabel Meneses. Alal Community in January 2020 and which has been operating freely in the Bosawás Reserve for several years", denounced Calpi.