Land Conflict Claims Another Life in Honduras’ Bajo Aguan Region

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A farmer active in a land reform movement was killed, and two others wounded, in two shooting attacks in the troubled Honduran region of Bajo Aguan.

As El Heraldo reports, three members of the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan (MUCA), a local farmers’ organization, were attacked in the Bajo Aguan region in two separate incidents this week. The first occurred on Saturday, when an individual who worked on a cooperative owned by wealthy industrialist Miguel Facusse was killed by unknown gunmen.

Four days later, on October 5, two other men were shot and are currently in the hospital. According to MUCA spokesman Vitalino Alvarez, the shootings occurred because “gunmen are being offered large sums of money to assassinate peasant leaders.”

As InSight Crime has reported, the eastern Bajo Aguan Valley region in northern Honduras is home to a bitter land conflict between local farmers and large land owners, which has resulted in the death of at least 40 people since December 2009. The latest shootings come nearly a month after the Honduran Congress passed a law allowing farmers’ groups to purchase disputed land.

In recent weeks, the military and local officials have attempted to blame the conflict alternately on “foreign infiltrators” from Venezuela and Nicaragua, and on drug traffickers, but these claims have not been substantiated.

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