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WOOD PILE
Guatemalan conservation group denounces activist's death
by Staff Writers
Guatemala City (AFP) March 18, 2016


A Guatemalan conservation group on Friday lashed out against the killing of one of its leaders, weeks after the murder of a Honduran indigenous activist prompted an international outcry.

Walter Campos of the Association of Forest Communities of Peten (ACOFOP) -- who campaigned against deforestation and hydroelectric projects in Guatemala's northern Peten region -- was found dead at his home on Wednesday, his body riddled with several gunshot wounds, the organization said in a statement.

"He had received death threats from illegal invaders of the land who publicly denounced him because of the causes he championed," the group said.

Campos was also a member of the Peten Front against Dams, which opposes hydroelectric projects on the Usumacinta River, the organization added.

ACOFOP joins more than 20 peasant and indigenous groups to help manage forests in Guatemala's government-run Maya Biosphere Reserve near the border with Mexico and Belize.

Campos's death is the latest act of repression against Central American activists following the murder of Berta Caceres, an indigenous leader killed in Honduras earlier this month, and her colleague Nelson Garcia two weeks later, ASOFOP said.

Caceres won international recognition for leading the indigenous Lenca people in a struggle against a hydroelectric dam project that would have flooded large areas of native lands and cut off water supplies to hundreds.

The murders are part of the "systematic violence in Central America suffered by leaders of the struggle to defend nature, cultures and territories threatened by large hydroelectric dams and agriculture," ACOFOP said.


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