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Environmental leader killed in Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — A Honduran environmentalist campaigning against a dam project in indigenous lands was killed with a machete blow to the head, her organization said Thursday.

Lesbia Yaneth Urquía, abducted Tuesday, was found dead Wednesday in a landfill in the town of Marcala, said the Honduran environmental and indigenous rights group COPINH.

Urquia, 49, was working against a project to build a dam over the Chinacla River, which flows through lands of the Lenca indigenous people in western Honduras.

“The death of Lesbia Yaneth is a political femicide that seeks to silence the voices of women with the courage and valor to defend their rights against a patriarchal, racist and capitalist system that is ever closer to destroying our planet,” COPINH wrote on its website.

The Honduran prosecutor’s office announced Thursday that it would form a special commission to look into the violent killing of Urquía.

In March, gunmen killed Berta Cáceres, a prominent coordinator of COPINH. She was working against a separate dam project on Lenca land.

Five people were arrested in May in connection with Cácares’s murder. One is a high-ranking employee of an electricity company involved in the dam project that Cáceres opposed.

Another COPINH leader, Tomás García, was killed days after the death of Cáceres in still unclear circumstances.

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