The governor of an Awa Indian reserve in the southwestern Colombian province of Nariño was stabbed to death, the indigenous council in the town of Ricaurte said.

Libio Guanga died at the hands of a man who accosted him shortly before midnight Saturday as he was walking home from a meeting of Awa authorities, the council said in a statement disseminated in Bogota by the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, or ONIC.

Besides governing the Alto Cartagena reserve outside Ricaurte, Guanga played a leading role in the broader Awa community, which numbers roughly 11,500, the council said.

Awa leaders have been receiving death threats in connection with the arrival of miners in the group's territory, an ONIC official told Efe.

At least 33 indigenous people have been murdered this year in Colombia, compared with 118 in all of 2011, according to the ONIC official, who said the Nasa Indians of the southwestern province of Cauca account for the largest number of fatalities.

The Nasa, also known as the Paez, recently declared themselves in "permanent resistance" with the aim of expelling Colombian security forces and leftist guerrillas from their lands.

The 1991 Colombian Constitution promises autonomy to the nation's 102 indigenous ethnic groups. EFE