A bullet from the 9mm caliber weapons used by an elite Police unit killed 22-year-old Rafael Nahuel, investigators revealed Tuesday after the autopsy on his body was concluded. The complete final results will be released later in the week.
Nahuel was present in an alleged violent “clash” over control of territory between Police and Mapuches near Bariloche on Friday.
The young man’s death is already widening divisions within the Mapuche community in Bariloche.
Nahuel’s mother Graciela told those gathered for his son’s wake yesterday, “You brought him to him in a coffin”.
The government and mainstream media consider the RAM offshoot of the Mapuche movement a terrorist organisation. However, many in the Mapuche community do not recognise armed groups as having political or social legitimacy.
A group of Mapuches met in Bariloche’s main square on Sunday afternoon to call for “dialogue” and a policy of returns of traditional territory to their communities.
“I’m not going to be able to rest if I don’t know what exactly happened to my son. I can’t believe he died this way”, she told the América 24 news network.
The national government is standing firm behind the security forces, already under intense public pressure following the disappearance and death of the 29-year-old artisan Santiago Maldonado in August.
Police received a judge’s order to evict the community, mostly young Mapuches, from disputed terrain near Villa Mascardi.
On Sunday, Vice-president Gabriela Michetti told a current affairs programme that the government gave officers of the special Albatros unit “the benefit of the doubt”.
According to the government’s official stance on the death, Police responded “with intimidatory shots” to a “group of around 15 to 20 people who were armed and masked and applying tactical military movements”.