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Five Colombian indigenous guards killed, possibly by rebel dissidents, military says

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BOGOTA (Reuters) – Five Colombian indigenous guards, tasked with protecting the country’s tribal reservations, were killed in a confrontation, possibly with dissident rebel fighters on Tuesday, the military said.

The attack on the guards by “presumed members of a residual organised armed group” – a phrase used by the military to refer to former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels who refused to demobilize under a 2016 peace deal – took place in Tacueyo, in southwestern Cauca province.

The armed group attacked to free three group members captured by the guards, the military said in a statement. Six other people were injured.

Troops have been moved to the area, it added.

Indigenous communities are frequent victims of violence by armed groups in the Andean country, as rebels and crime gangs seek to control lucrative drug trafficking and illegal mining territory.

The National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia decried the attack on Twitter, asking “when will the massacre end?”

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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