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Gunmen murder Honduran indigenous leader Berta Caceres

Published 04/03/2016

A man holds up a portrait of murdered Honduran indigenous leader and environmentalist Berta Caceres outside the coroner's office in Tegucigalpa (AP)
A man holds up a portrait of murdered Honduran indigenous leader and environmentalist Berta Caceres outside the coroner's office in Tegucigalpa (AP)

Honduran indigenous leader and environmentalist Berta Caceres has been murdered by gunmen who broke into her home.

Ms Caceres, 40, a Lenca Indian activist, w ho won the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize for her role in fighting a dam project, had complained of receiving death threats from police, soldiers and local landowners because of her work.

Tomas Membreno, a member of her group, the Indian Council of People's Organisations of Honduras, said at least two people broke into the house and shot her dead early on Thursday in La Esperanza.

"Honduras has lost a brave and committed social activist," he said.

The killing appeared to be targeted, as a Mexican rights activist at the house was only slightly wounded in the attack, but Ms Caceres's body had four gunshot wounds.

Police said they had detained a suspect, but did not identify the person.

Ms Caceres, a mother of four, led opposition to a proposed dam on the Gualcarque river, considered sacred by the Lencas.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez said: "This act has caused mourning among all Hondurans."

His chief of staff, Jorge Alcerro, said: "The president has instructed all government security forces to use all means to find the killers."

He said Ms Caceres was supposed to be receiving special protection because of the death threats, but did not explain why there were no police protecting her when she was killed.

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