Snapshots

Panama: Wounaan attacked by loggers for defending endangered Cocobolo trees

Two people have died and three others are injured following a confrontation (es) between indigenous peoples and loggers of an endangered tree in Panama. The conflict began began on March 30, when a group of Wounaan attempted to burn logging equipment that was being used by a group of loggers working for Maderera company to cut Cocobolo timber, a type of rosewood that's prized around the world.

The endangered hardwood is often used to make gun grips, knife handles, police batons, high-end billiard cues, marine equipment, chess pieces and various musical instruments (marimbas, clarinets, xylophones, acoustic guitars). It is also sought after in China for use in furniture.

Details of the attack are still limited, but according to recent testimony (es), one of the loggers began firing a weapon at the Wounaan leader Aquilino Opúa was gravely injured during the attack.

The injured leader, it was said, walked through the mountains for at least an hour before making it back to his community, where he soon passed on. The enraged community quickly mobilized to confront the loggers. Upon their arrival, a second melee followed, which resulted in the death of Ezequiel Batista, one of the tractor drivers.

FULL ARTICLE: Panama: Wounaan attacked by loggers for defending endangered Cocobolo trees.

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