Chile train disaster

Freight train derailed and burned in southern Chile amid indigenous conflict

epaselect epa09526363 A Mapuche woman hits a kultrun during a protest in the central Plaza Italia, popularly renamed 'Plaza Dignidad', during a new day of protests against the Government of Sebastian Pinera, in Santiago, Chile, 15 October 2021. At least a thousand people demonstrated this Friday in the center of Santiago with just three days left until 18 October, which will mark two years of the social protests that shook the country and ended up opening a constituent process. The march was called through social networks and was concentrated in the Plaza Italia in the capital, the epicenter of that wave of protests that at its peak, on 25 October 2019, drew more than a million people. EPA-EFE/Alberto Valdes

SANTIAGO, Nov 2 (Reuters) - A freight train in southern Chile was derailed and some of its cargo units burned by unknown assailants on Tuesday, officials said, amid tensions between the state and the local Mapuche indigenous group demanding the return of ancestral lands.

The attack on the train, which had been carrying cellulose used to make paper, happened in the South Macrozone area of Victoria, which has been under a state of emergency due to the conflict.

“We have burned machinery and locomotive cars that transported cellulose from Valdivia to the Concepcion area,” Victor Manoli, presidential delegate to the area, told reporters. Images of the derailed and still smoking wagons circulated on social media and local TV.

“We must recognize that what we are experiencing today are acts of terrorism,” Manoli added.

The official said that so far no one had claimed responsibility for the attack, which caused a suspension of train service from the town of Victoria and Temuco to the regional capital of La Araucania.

La Araucania is home to Mapuche communities that are reclaiming lands that have been turned over to companies in the forestry sector. In recent years, sabotage has increased in the region with the burning of houses, trucks and machinery.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Hugh Bronstein Editing by Marguerita Choy)


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