Juan Francisco Durán Ayala, member of the environmentalist Committee of Cabañas in defense of Water and Culture (CAC), was murdered by four shots to his head on June 3rd when he headed to the University. His body was found next morning in Soyapango.
His organization has been very active in defense of the region against the mining projects of Pacific Rim, a Vancouver-based multinational. The day before his murder, Juan Francisco took part in a large demonstration against a pro-mining meeting in Ilobasco, in which the pressure was strong enough to dissuade potential participants from staying.
Another participant in such action, Francisco Pineda, who recently won the environmental Goldman Prize, reported that the car of the mayor of Ilobasco, José María Dimas Castellanos Hernández, was seen coming and going, followed by a noisy car full of gang members. Later that night the banner against mining was retrieved by the local police.
The Salvadoran environmentalists demand that the murder of Durán, as well as those of other three people killed in previous months be investigated. They also demand investigation of the mayors of Ilobasco, San Isidro Cabañas and Sensutepeque, as well as Pacific Rim Mining Corporation.