South and Meso American Indian Rights Center


One Youth killed, 21 Indigenous people taken by Military (El Salvador)

(Information from the National Indigenous Association of El Salvador (ANIS))

At midnight, on the 8th of December, 1996, in the Indigenous communities of Sabana San Juan Abajo and Sabana San Juan Arriba of the Nahuizalco province in the state of Sonsonate, sections of the Salvadoran military along with the National Police surrounded 45 different homes and took away 21 individuals ranging from 16 to 65 years old. Gilberto Lue Tuken, age 17, was killed at 4:20 AM.

The police and military entered into the houses brutally and forcefully, immediately taking all of the inhabitants out to the main street, threatening and abusing them as they went. ANIS also reports that the military and police carried bombs and arms with them that they later claimed were found in the houses they entered. The Indigenous brothers and sisters were told that if they did not turn over the military equipment they would be killed (even though this equipment had been planted there by them). They were also told that if they tried to denouce this attack, there would be another massacre—of the entire community.

The physical and verbal attacks included hair grabbing and pulling, hitting against the rocks and fists all over their bodies including in the ribs and head, and even jumping on them and kicking them.

Many of our Indigenous sisters and brothers also had their mouthes forced open with the butt of a gun and a chemical (poison) was forced into it and onto many of their faces in order to blind and choke them. Then, at 4:20 AM, Gilberto Lue Tuken, age 17, was murdered amid shouts and cries.

Unforntunately this type of violation of human rights in the western part of El Salvador is nothing new. Besides the massacre of 1983 when 74 Indigenous were killed, there has been a resurgence of killings, torture, and threats in the past year. On November 3, 1996, a death squad massacred in cold blood an entire family of 8 Nahuat Indians, including four children (aged 2-13) and three women in the department of Sonsonate. These victims were hacked to death with machetes.

Murdered on December 8, 1996:

Forcefully Abducted on December 8, 1996:

Murdered on November 3, 1996:

We urge you to please send faxes condemning these horrible crimes and asking that the perpetrators are brought to justice to:

Dr. Armando Calderon Sol
Presidente de la república de El Salvador
FAX: 503-271-0950

Lic. Mario Acosta Oertel
Minister of the Interior
Ministerio del Interior, Centro de Gobierno San Salvador, El Salvador
Fax 503-2712484

Copies to:

Dra. Victoria Marina Velasquez de Aviles Produradora para la defensa de los derechos humanos de El Salvador 9a. Avenida Nte. y Calle Poniente
Edificio Amsa No. 535
San Salvador
El Salvador

Salvadoran National Indigenous Association (ANIS)
Calle Obispo Marroquin
Oficina Antigua Aduane Ferree 5-1
El Salvador

Sr. Jefe de redaccion
La Prensa Grafica
3a. Calle Poniente No. 130
San Salvador
El Salvador

Sr Jefe de redaccion
Diano Latino
23 Ave. Sur No. 226
Apartado Postal 96
San Salvador
El Salvador

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