SANTIAGO – Chilean police on Sunday arrested in the southern part of the country six Mapuche Indians in several raids to apprehend those responsible for an attack on a passenger bus in late July, after which the government invoked the State Security Law.
Members of the Carabineros, Chile’s militarized police, around 7 a.m. (1000 GMT) entered the Indian communities of Vilcun and Padre Las Cases to execute arrest warrants issued for the six Mapuches.
The bus, which was traveling the route from Santiago to Puerto Montt, was carrying about 50 passengers when it was ambushed and pelted with stones on the morning of July 28 by a group of 15 masked attackers near the town of Temuco, 673 kilometers (417 miles) south of Santiago.
The authors of the attack, the responsibility for which was later claimed by the Arauco Malleco Coordinator, or CAM, were armed with a shotgun and scrawled slogans on the vehicle pertaining to the ongoing Mapuche conflict.
The conflict has been under way since the 1990s in southern Chile, where there are frequent confrontations between landowners and lumber firms and local Indians who are fighting to recover their ancestral lands.