Amazon rainforest tribal leader and ‘forest guardian’ killed by illegal loggers

Amazon rainforest tribal leader and ‘forest guardian’ killed by illegal loggers


 A tribesman in the Amazon has been killed by illegal loggers in what is believed to have been an ambush  Paulo Paulino Guajajara, an indigenous leader of the Guajarara tribe and part of a group known as the ‘Forest Guardians’, was shot in the neck  The ‘Forest Guardians’ were formed by indigenous people to fight off gangs of illegal loggers who are pillaging their rainforest  Another tribesman and guardian, Laercio Guajajara, was injured by a bullet to the back in the ambush in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhao on Friday  Nonprofit pro-indigenous organisation Survival International said he was able to escape He was hospitalised.  A logger has also been reported missing.  The Human Rights Secretary of Maranhao reports the two tribesmen left their village to find water when five armed men began shooting at them immediately  Sergio Moro, who is Brazilian Minister of Justice and Public Security, declared this incident a “terrible crime ”  In a tweet, Moro said: “We will spare no effort to bring those responsible for this serious crime to justice ”  An investigation was understood to have been launched by Brazilian Federal Police  The Guajarara tribe has tasked itself with protecting the rainforest but this often places them in danger from dangerous criminals  A number of Guardians have been killed in recent years Maranhao.  This latest attack was in the Araribóia indigenous territory in Maranhao It is a reserve which is home to around 5,300 Guajajara and Awá tribespeople. The Awá is known as the world’s most endangered tribe   Gilderlan Rodrigues, Maranhão regional coordinator of Brazil’s indigenous missionary council, told the Guardian newspaper the tribesmen had been threatened many times before  He said: “Their work bothers those that want to loot their territory. These criminal actions must be combated so that more lives are not lost ”  Survival International’s Sarah Shenker said the reserve was an “island of green amid a sea of deforestation”  Murdered Paulo Paulino Guajajara was quoted by survival international earlier this year as saying: “It makes me so mad to see this  “These people think they can come here, into our home, and help themselves to our forest?  “No We won’t allow it. We don’t break into their houses and rob them, do we? My blood is boiling I’m so angry.”  Many killings related to the targeting of the reserve by the illegal logging gangs go unsolved  Some observers link an increase in the killings and attacks to the presidency of right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, who has made cuts to environmental and indigenous protection agencies  Indigenous leader Sonia Bone Guajajara said: “The indigenous genocide of Brazil is legitimised by the discourse of the president ”  Armed land-grabbers, known as grileiros – emboldened by Brazil’s new far-right president Jair Bolsonaro – are responsible for many of the blazes, burning thousands of acres of forest to make room for cattle and crops  Bolsonaro supports landowners over indigenous people, who he has compared to animals trapped in the zoo He has threatened to revoke the protected status of tribal reserves.  The protection of indigenous land is guaranteed by the Brazilian constitution to preserve 305 tribes, who have been persecuted for centuries  Any lessening of rights for the tribes poses a dire threat to both them and the Amazon  Along with the fires, the forest is being cut down by cattle ranchers, farmers and mining companies  Bolsonaro’s stance has emboldened the grileiros, and violence has surged since his 2018 election

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