An initial investigation suggests the massacre happened in retaliation for the capture of three members of a residual front of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The indigenous guards were attacked by men in a black-colored vehicle, according to the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca. They also proceeded to fire at an ambulance tending to the injured, the group said.
Dozens of indigenous and social leaders have been killed in the aftermath of Colombia's historic 2016 peace accord as illegal armed groups and dissidents seek to exert control over for former rebel territory and lucrative drug routes.
"When will the massacre end?" the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia lamented on Twitter as news of the attack spread. Colombia's indigenous guards protect their community and do not carry firearms. The Organization of American States identified one of the dead as Cristina Bautista, a spiritual leader with the Neehwe'sx community in southwestern Colombia.
President Iván Duque ordered military troops to respond to the attack site and vowed to hold all those responsible accountable. "We condemn the assassination," he said on Twitter.