Chile’s President-elect Gabriel Boric has expressed concern over Tuesday’s violent attacks that claimed the lives of a farmer and a community member in the south of the country, an area that has been in a state of emergency for more than three months .
“We are saddened and condemn the murders of Cesar Millahual and Joel Ovalle. We are concerned about the violent attacks and the casualties this conflict has left in its wake. To advance peace and security, we need the will of all. We will do our best with this homework,” Boric claimed on his social networks.
The provinces of Malleco in La Araucanía and Arauco in Biobío were the scene of violent attacks on a farmer and a forest worker, who eventually died. These incidents came on a day marked by the Senate’s approval of the seventh extension of the state of emergency in southern Chile’s provinces.
Chile’s upper house approved the government-sponsored measure, for which the state of emergency was extended until February 9. The exemption has been in effect since mid-October in the provinces of Biobío and Arauco in the Biobío region; and in Cautín and Malleco, in La Araucanía.
The state of emergency allows the armed forces to be deployed in these areas to ensure security control. For its part, the executive pointed to a significant improvement in the security situation in the area since the application of the norm.
From the Department of Home Affairs and Public Security, they pointed out that the past three months had been “one of the less violent quarters in recent times.” Likewise, from the Defense Ministry, they noted that, in addition to cooperation in the field of security, there is “work to develop coordination with the mayors of these provinces.”
For his part, Army General Luis Cuellar has called those responsible for Tuesday’s deaths “cowards” and called on those responsible to confront the Chilean armed forces.
“I tell you, and I repeat it emphatically: there are cowardly people killing unarmed civilians here. Why don’t you stand up to us? I invite you,” said the soldier.
However, Cuellar has warned that the armed forces “are a force trained for war” and that “they do not use blanks”. “If they shoot at us, our people who don’t use blank ammunition will center their gun, identify targets and there will be casualties, that’s a reality, there will be casualties,” he warned.