Brazil: garimpeiros kill indigenous leader

Brazilian authorities are investigating the murder of an indigenous leader in the northern state of Amap√°, in the Amazon region, where violence has escalated since a group of some 50 heavily armed men‚ÄĒbelieved to be¬†garimpeiros, or outlaw¬†gold-miners‚ÄĒreportedly¬†invaded the Waj√£pi indigenous reserve. On the morning of July 23, indigenous chief Emyra Waj√£pi was found stabbed to death close to Waseity village where he lived, according to the Council of¬†Waj√£pi Villages (APINA). Three days later, the group of armed men appeared in the neighboring Yvytot√Ķ indigenous village and threatened residents, forcing¬†them to flee to the nearby village of¬†Mariry, according to APINA.

The Waj√£pi indigenous reserve, an area of about 6,000 square kilometers¬†rich in gold and other minerals, was demarcated as a protected area in 1996. Half of its territory lies within the National Copper and Associated¬†Reserve (RENCA), created in 1984 to conserve the zone’s natural resources.¬†Then-president Michel Temer tried to abolish¬†the RENCA in 2017, allowing mining companies in. Temer was forced to step back from his decision after international outcry accused him of selling out the Amazon to foreign mining interests. Invasion of indigenous territories by ostensibly¬†illegal mining outfits has escalated dramatically under current President Jair Bolsonaro.¬†(Mongabay)

Photo of Wajãpi indigenous people via Mongabay