Chile's Interior Minister Izkia Siches has warned the armed forces would “respond” in case of an attack by radical Mapuche groups after the state of emergency has been reimposed in La Araucanía due to increasing violence.
We do not want civilian victims as [much as we do not want them among those in] uniform or carabineros, Siches said. In case of being attacked, they will have to respond and defend their lives, she added.
The Chilean Executive announced this week the reinstatement of a state of emergency in the South Macrozone which will allow the military to deal with the Mapuche conflict in La Araucanía.
However, Siches insisted the measure does not solve the underlying problems facing this area since organized crime, timber theft or drug trafficking are issues that are not going to be solved.
Sometimes it is thought that the military is going to solve the problem in La Araucanía and that is not effective, we have seen it in the last six months. In reality, it is something that allows the securing of roads, to drive safely for free movement, but not much beyond that.
Siches also underlined her preferences and those of President Gabriel Boric Font's administration for dialogue as the right approach to the issue.
”If they want to use these demands (of the indigenous peoples) to cover up or disguise organized crime, drug trafficking, or other criminal events (...) our government will be clear, emphatic and will not rest in pursuing and finding those responsible,” she pointed out.
The military resumed patrolling La Araucanía in southern Chile last Wednesday after an increase in violence from radical Mapuche native groups. As troops entered the area earlier this week some 600 km south of Santiago arson attacks were reported.
The order to re-militarize the Araucanía region and some towns in the neighboring Biobío region was given on Monday by President Boric, who had to backtrack on his initial intention not to use the same methods of his predecessor Sebastián Piñera to protect the area.