“Those killed by the army were not guerrillas, but civilians, including indigenous comrades,” said Oscar Daza, spokesman for Opiac, an organisation that brings together the Indigenous peoples of the Colombian Amazon.
Among the victims were the Quechua governor Pablo Panduro, as well as community leader Divier Hernandez and his wife, rights groups said.
The ombudsman’s office, a state human rights agency, also reported the death of a 16-year-old and demanded “quick clarification of the facts.”
The army had said the day before it had killed 11 suspected dissidents from the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) whom the government alleged were involved in drug trafficking, in an operation on the border with Peru.
Opiac did not provide details about the seven other people reported to have been killed in the fighting.
Human Rights Watch also said that “during the army operation, an indigenous governor, a community leader and his wife were killed.”
“There is an urgent need to clarify the facts,” said Juan Pappier, the NGO’s senior researcher for the Americas.
Without mentioning the fighting, the Colombian prosecutor’s office said on Twitter that it was opening an investigation into “the events in Puerto Leguizamo where 11 people died.”
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