Police say indigenous Lunca leader was shot dead in Honduras

Honduran police say a local leader of the indigenous Lenca group was shot dead

Tegucigalpa, Honduras-Police say a local leader of the indigenous Lenca group in Honduras was shot dead on Sunday.

Police spokesman Cristian Manuel Nolasco said that Pablo Isabel Hernández went to the local church with his father and brothers, Killed on a dirt road near the town of San Marcos de Caiquín.

Nolasco said the ambush may be related to personal or political disputes.

Hernández served as the director of a radio station called “Radio Tenan, the indigenous voice of Lencas”. He is also actively involved in indigenous education and environmental projects.

The Honduran Community Media Association said in a statement that it “sees this as another attack on freedom of speech and the defense of human rights.”

Hernandez was the second Lenka leader to be killed in less than a year. In March 2020, Lenca activist Juan Carlos Cerros Escalante was shot dead in the town of Nova Granada in the province of Cortez on the Caribbean coast. He has helped lead the struggle against the construction of the dam.

Hernández and Cerros Escalante belong to the same indigenous community as Berta Cáceres, and Berta Cáceres, an award-winning defender of the environment and indigenous rights, was murdered in 2016.

According to rights groups, since the death of Cáceres, more than 30 environmental activists have been killed in Honduras.

Cáceres is the co-founder of the National Committee of Honduran People and Indigenous Organizations. She helped organize the opposition to the Agua Zalca dam project to be built on the Garcaque River. This river has important spiritual significance to the Lunka people and is also an important source of water. The dam project is still frozen.