Latin American Herald Tribune

Colombia Makes Arrest in Killings of 12 Indians

Sept 02--Colombian police arrested a suspect in last week’s killings of 12 Awa Indians in the southern province of Nariño, El Tiempo newspaper said on its Web page.

2 de septiembre de 2009

The daily said that Jairo Miguel Pai Nastapuas was arrested in Orito, a hamlet in the neighboring province of Putumayo, though sources in the Colombian Attorney General’s office declined to confirm the information when contacted by Efe.

Police had been looking for Pai since a judge issued a warrant for his arrest last Thursday.

Pai, himself an Indian, has a criminal record that includes arrests for extortion and kidnapping, and investigators say the reason he killed the 12 Awas was that they refused his demands for protection money.

The man in custody is thought to be the head of a gang that engages in the extortion and kidnapping of natives, especially in Nariño.

With regard to the massacre, the government has said that it will carry out investigations and nab the killers, as Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia said at the funeral for the victims.
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