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BRASILIA (Reuters) – Illegal loggers within the Amazon ambushed an indigenous group that was shaped to guard the forest and shot lifeless a younger warrior and wounded one other, leaders of the Guajajara tribe in northern Brazil mentioned on Saturday.

Paulo Paulino Guajajara, or Lobo (which suggests ‘wolf’ in Portuguese), was looking on Friday contained in the Arariboia reservation in Maranhao state when he was attacked and shot within the head. Another Guajajara, Laercio, was wounded however escaped, they mentioned.

The conflict comes amid a rise in invasions of reservations by unlawful loggers and miners since right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took workplace this 12 months and vowed to open up protected indigenous lands to financial improvement.

“The Bolsonaro government has indigenous blood on its hands,” Brazil’s pan-indigenous group APIB, which represents most of the nation’s 900,000 native individuals, mentioned in a press release on Saturday.

“The increase in violence in indigenous territories is a direct result of his hateful speeches and steps taken against our people,” APIB mentioned.

APIB chief Sonia Guajajara mentioned the federal government was dismantling environmental and indigenous companies, and leaving tribes to defend themselves from invasion of their lands.

“It’s time to say enough of this institutionalized genocide,” she mentioned in a submit on Twitter.

Brazil’s federal police mentioned that they had despatched a workforce to analyze the circumstances of Paulino Guajajara’s loss of life. APIB mentioned his physique was nonetheless mendacity within the forest the place he was killed.

The Guajajaras, one in all Brazil’s largest indigenous teams with some 20,000 individuals, arrange the Guardians of the Forest right here in 2012 to patrol an unlimited reservation. The space is so giant {that a} small and endangered tribe, the Awá Guajá, lives deep within the forest with none contact with the surface world.

FILE: A Guajajara Indian "forest guardian" lifts a tree trunk at a makeshift camp on Arariboia indigenous land near the city

FILE: A Guajajara Indian “forest guardian” lifts a tree trunk at a makeshift camp on Arariboia indigenous land close to the town of Amarante, Maranhao state, Brazil, September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Paulino Guajajara, who was in his twenties and leaves behind one son, instructed Reuters in an interview right here on the reservation in September that defending the forest from intruders had change into a harmful process, however his individuals couldn’t give in to concern.

“I’m scared at times, but we have to lift up our heads and act. We are here fighting,” he mentioned, as he and different warriors ready to maneuver by way of the forest in direction of a logging camp.

“We are protecting our land and the life on it, the animals, the birds, even the Awá who are here too,” Paulino Guajajara mentioned on the time. “There is so much destruction of Nature happening, good trees with wood as hard as steel being cut down and taken away.”

“We have to preserve this life for our children’s future,” he mentioned.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Leo Benassatto; Editing by Bernadette Baum


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