Yaqui Leader, Activist In Sonora Missing For Nearly A Week

By Kendal Blust
Published: Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 5:15pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 6:26pm

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search for Tomás Rojo
Fiscalia de Sonora
State and federal authorities join family members of Tomás Rojo and others in the Yaqui community to search for the missing activist early June 2021.

An activist and spokesperson for the Yaqui tribe in neighboring Sonora, Mexico, has been missing since last Thursday. State and federal leaders have promised to continue searching for him.

Tomás Rojo Valencia is an Indigenous water defender well known for his role in the so-called "war for water," when he and other fought construction of the Independence Aqueduct that supplies the capital Hermosillo with water from the Yaqui River basin.

Rojo, 54, left home on May 27 to walk in the Yaqui community of Vícam, as he does every day, according to family members who reported him missing. He hasn’t been seen since.

His disappearance sent shockwaves through the community, with family, tribal authorities, human rights organizations and business leaders all demanding his return.

It’s still unclear whether his disappearance is linked to his activism. State and federal officials have committed to continue searching until he is found.

During a morning press conference Tuesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador condemned the disappearance and vowed to see those responsible punished.

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