Indigenous leaders in the Mayangna territory of Sauni have filed a police report against 10 armed “colonists” who allegedly invaded their community and threatened locals with weapons as part of an attempt to illegally harvest timber from Nicaragua’s rapidly balding Bosawás Biosphere Reserve.
Mayangna community members Eridinia Romero and Cesar Taylor say they were intercepted in the forest by 10 armed intruders who were illegally extracting timber along the Río Pis Pis, near the indigenous community of Betlehem. The so-called “colonists” (the indigenous term for non-indigenous land invaders) allegedly photographed the indigenous couple and said they would hunt them down and kill them if they snitched to authorities.
Mayangna leaders filed a police report later that day with police in Bonanza. That was nearly a month ago, but police have yet to respond, according to a public denouncement by activist group Mision Bosawás.
“Even though we found illegal weapons and men destroying part of the nucleus of the Bosawás Reserve, the National Police refuse to capture the men, saying they were sent by the Chief of Police of Bonanza, Commissioner Germán Antonio Mora,” reads the public accusation by the indigenous right’s group.
This week’s complaint is part of the Mayangna’s ongoing documentation of the destruction of Bosawás, which indigenous leaders claim is being cleared at the appalling rate of 74,130 acres per year. The Mayangna released a report last year documenting nearly nearly 11,500 squatters who have reportedly devoured 370,658 acres (one-sixth of Bosawás) in the past five years.
Indigenous leaders complain the government is not taking the ecological crisis seriously, and warn that —at the current rate of deforestation — Central America’s largest forest will be reduced to pasture land within the next decade.