Six Waorani Indians have been arrested over the killing last April of an unknown number of uncontacted Taromenane Indians in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park.
The Waorani and Taromenane are inter-related tribes from Ecuador’s east Amazon region. Waorani were contacted and settled into communities by missionaries from the 1950s, but the Taromenane continue to resist all contact with mainstream society.
The alleged attack occurred in April 2013 following the murder of a Waorani couple, Ompore Omeway and his wife Buganei Cayga.
The Waorani have been charged with entering the Taromenane’s forest and carrying out a revenge attack.
It is also alleged that two children were captured during the attack. One of the children has since been taken into police custody; the other is reported to be in hospital.
Ecuador’s government has been heavily criticised for its failure to prevent the revenge killings of the Taromenane that many had predicted.
Indigenous organizations in the country have blamed the intense oil exploration and drilling in the area and the illegal colonization of Waorani lands for exacerbating inter-ethnic tensions, and for bringing once-separate groups into close proximity.
In November, President Rafael Correa opened up the Yasuni Park to oil exploration following a failed attempt to gather international support and finance to protect the land and keep the oil underground.