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Disagreement over Pipeline Causes Violent Confrontation Among Yaqui Factions in Sonora

LADB Article ID: 80137
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2016-11-09
By: Carlos Navarro

A violent conflict between two groups from the Yaqui tribe has brought attention to the differing views about development within indigenous communities. The confrontation in the Yaqui community of Loma de Bácum in late October resulted in one death, eight injuries, and significant property damage. The factions were clashing over the construction of the Agua Prieta pipeline, which would bring natural gas from the US state of Arizona to Sonora. A portion of the planned pipeline would be constructed in Yaqui territory. The Mexican government had granted the permit for the pipeline to IENova, a subsidiary of Texas-based Sempra Energy. The pipeline intends to supply gas to the federal electric utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). The Yaqui members from Loma de Bácum had filed and won a moratorium against the construction of the pipeline, which resulted in the temporary suspension of all activity in the area. However, the construction company resumed work despite the moratorium, allegedly with the support of government officials and the Yaqui members from the community of Loma de Guamúchil. The two sides engaged in a confrontation, using machetes, clubs, rocks, and firearms. The conflict, which reportedly lasted three hours, claimed the life of one person, identified as Cruz Buitimea, a resident of Loma de Bácum, who was shot. Eight others suffered a variety of injuries, and more than a dozen vehicles were burned.

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