photo by Dawn Paley (Flickr CC)

Members of Colombia’s Nasa tribe are demanding that both government troops and leftist rebels leave their lands. Nasa territory has been the battle ground for a bloody offensive by the Colombian military against FARC rebels, claiming mainly civilian lives.

Tribal protesters wielding wooden clubs and spears forced members of the military from their lands (the Nasa shun the use of firearms). They have also conducted trials against FARC rebels who could face banishment, flogging or being kept in stocks as punishment.

From the Associated Press:

The conflict claims hundreds if not thousands of lives a year, mostly civilians killed in a dirty war involving right-wing death squads, rebels and the military. Yet in terms of violence, this month’s upheaval in Cauca has been comparatively tame. Its damage is, instead, political.

The fifty year old conflict has displaced some 2 million Colombians. Neither FARC nor the Colombian military is heeding the wishes of the brave and peaceful Nasa people.

See this photo essay in Time Magazine for more and watch the following video report from Al Jazeera English.