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argentina Rafael Nahuel

Rafael Nahuel Autopsy: Bullet linked to special Police unit

Rafael Nahuel, 22, was present in an alleged violent “clash” over control of territory between Police and Mapuches near Bariloche on Friday.

Tuesday 28 November, 2017
A group of Mapuches and their supporters gathered in Bariloche's main square on Sunday to mourn the death of 22-year-old Rafael Nahuel.
A group of Mapuches and their supporters gathered in Bariloche's main square on Sunday to mourn the death of 22-year-old Rafael Nahuel. Foto:Télam

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A bullet from the 9mm caliber weapons used by an elite Police unit killed 22-year-old Rafael Nahuel, investigators revealed Tuesday after the autopsy on his body was concluded. The complete final results will be released later in the week.

Nahuel was present in an alleged violent “clash” over control of territory between Police and Mapuches near Bariloche on Friday.

DIVISIONS

The young man’s death is already widening divisions within the Mapuche community in Bariloche.

Nahuel’s mother Graciela told those gathered for his son’s wake yesterday, “You brought him to him in a coffin”.

The government and mainstream media consider the RAM offshoot of the Mapuche movement a terrorist organisation. However, many in the Mapuche community do not recognise armed groups as having political or social legitimacy.

A group of Mapuches met in Bariloche’s main square on Sunday afternoon to call for “dialogue” and a policy of returns of traditional territory to their communities.

GOV'T UNDER PRESSURE

Graciela also took aim at the national government.

“I haven’t heard from anybody from the government”, she said.

“I’m not going to be able to rest if I don’t know what exactly happened to my son. I can’t believe he died this way”, she told the América 24 news network.

The national government is standing firm behind the security forces, already under intense public pressure following the disappearance and death of the 29-year-old artisan Santiago Maldonado in August.

Police received a judge’s order to evict the community, mostly young Mapuches, from disputed terrain near Villa Mascardi.

On Sunday, Vice-president Gabriela Michetti told a current affairs programme that the government gave officers of the special Albatros unit “the benefit of the doubt”.

According to the government’s official stance on the death, Police responded “with intimidatory shots” to a “group of around 15 to 20 people who were armed and masked and applying tactical military movements”.

12 PROVINCES

In a joint statement this weekend, 12 provincial governments indicated they plan to report Nahuel’s death to the Inter-american Commission on Human Rights.

These are Santiago del Estero, Tucumán, La Rioja, Chaco, Entre Ríos, Río Negro, La Pampa, Santa Cruz, Catamarca, Neuquén, San Juan, Chaco and Misiones.

Protestors were set to march on the Security Minister on Tuesday morning to call on Security Minister Patricia Bullrich’s resignation.

-TIMES

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