María Elena Hidalgo, special envoy in Bagua
Three indigenous that served in the Peruvian army are interned in the Hospital Gustavo Lanatta Luján, en Bagua Chica. The honorably discharged soldiers were attacked by police when they protested for the lands.
Roger Petsa Najamtai, 30, from the community of Santiago in the district of Belén, went to the site of the strike via boat along with 29 other members of his community.
“The day before the attack we talked with the Police General Víctor Uribe to make it clear that the problem was not with the police but with the government”, explaind Petsa. “The police told us that there was no problem with us and that the next day at 10am we would continue talks. But at 6am the police started the attack on us including from a helicopter that fired bullets like rain. The police shot us directly in the body. I saw how my colleagues fell while I started running for cover. Two bullets hit me and I fell. I got out on a motorbike, helped by a friend. The police shot at the motorbike but I managed to get to the hospital”.
Roger Petsa Najamtai, 22, is from the community of Iracuza in the district of Nieva. He joined the protest to represent his townspeople.
“We were in a peaceful protest and talking constantly with the police in order to avoid problems. It’s true that we blocked the road but we allowed passengers to cross by foot witout any problem” explained Ukuncham. “On Friday at 6am around 1,000 police approached us and started to clear the road by shooting. We only had lances and sticks but they started shooting at our bodies. I didn’t understand why they were shooting at me as I was also a Peruvian and the only thing we were doing was to protest for our lands. As I am an ex-soldier with honourable discharge I approached (the police) to ask them the motive and they answered that they had orders to kill us, then I was hit by two bullets in the arm.”
Paul was one of the first to be evacuated from the zone and taken to hospital. The version of the indigenous is completely different to the official story of the events.
Camped in Bagua for one month
“We travelled from my community for one week to be part of the strike and the calim our rights in a peaceful way” said Paulo Bitap López, native of the Shushug community in the district of Chiriaco who travelled along with 70 other natives to Bagua Chica. They were there for a month. “No NGO gave us food. The families in the zone helped us with food for a month” he said.
“No politician has manipulated us. The indigenous people has its own worldview and part of that is the defence of land and water. When the police started to shoot, I asked my friends who are also honourably discharged members of the army to go and talk. But when we approached they shot us. They injured me and took my friends away.” Paulo Bitap was hit by a bullet in his left shoulder.