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Honduran Garifuna leader Snider Centeno kidnapped

The President of the community council in Triunfo De la Cruz, Snider Centeno, was taken from his home by a group of armed men.

HONDURAS, Sat. July 18, 2020 (teleSUR)– The Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz has issued an alert over the kidnapping of the President of the elected council, Snider Centeno, and two others, by armed men who entered their home early morning Saturday.

According to the Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras or Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, Ofraneh, Sneider Centeno was kidnapped along with Milton Martinez and Suany Alvarez, the three of whom are defenders belonging to the community’s Land Committee. Their whereabouts are unknown.

The kidnappings occurred Saturday, during early hours when heavily armed men arrived, entering their homes and taking them, as witnessed by their families.

What transpired is the latest attack against the Garifuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of Afro-Indigenous and Indigenous people amid encroachment by extractivist companies and lack of protection from the Honduran state under the government of U.S. ally Juan Orlando Hernandez.

General Coordinator of Ofraneh, Miriam Miranda, tweeted on the developments, saying, “Under this dictatorship, the gangster, corrupt and murderous, machinery of death is intact and strengthened. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an armed group arrived in Triunfo de la Cruz and took, among others, the leader Sneider Centeno. We demand that he be promptly returned alive.”

The community considers this an act of intimidation directed at their peaceful community.

Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) has demanded that authorities conduct an immediate emergency investigation and act to save the lives of Snider and the others, and are urging the international community to take action by contacting Honduran officials.

Several violent acts, including kidnappings, murders, and intimidation, have occurred in recent months in the Garifuna territories where communities are fighting against the presence of extractive companies as well as the presence of drug traffickers.

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