At least 18 dead in Ecuador tribe revenge attack

Amazon tribesmen killed at least 18 people in an apparent revenge attack against a rival group in Ecuador, an indigenous leader said.

Citing a person who participated in the attack, Gilberto Nenquimo told AFP that elderly men and women were among the dead, along with an unknown number of children. He was speaking from the southeastern town of Puyo.

According to Huaorani leaders, several members of the clan attacked a settlement of the Taromenane clan over the weekend in retaliation for the March 5 spearing deaths of a Huaorani leader and his wife.

On Wednesday, Huaorani of Ecuador president Cahuetipe Yeti said the attackers also took two Taromenane girls to a Huaorani community.

Nenquimo, vice president of Yeti's group, said that Huaorani leaders had negotiated with the attackers so that the two girls -- aged between eight and nine years old -- would be returned to their clan to avoid further reprisals.

This type of attack is common among tribes in the vicinity of Yasuni National Park. A 2003 raid allegedly conducted by the Huaorani against a Taromenane settlement left 23 women and children dead.

There are no official figures on the two tribes, but Nenquimo estimated they number about 200 members together.

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