View Full Version : "Massacre" of Amazonian tribe prevented?

Jan Klimkowski
08-09-2011, 07:30 PM
Intriguing story.

It's difficult to know quite what's going on....

Brazil moves to prevent 'massacre' of Amazon tribe by drug traffickers

Brazilian indigenous protection officers to make emergency visit to isolated community facing threat from heavily armed gangs

Tom Phillips guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/09/brazil-amazon-tribe-drug-traffickers), Tuesday 9 August 2011 11.50 BST

The head of Brazil's indigenous protection service is to make an emergency visit to a remote jungle outpost, amid fears that members of an isolated Amazon tribe may have been "massacred" by drug traffickers.

Fears for the tribe's wellbeing have been escalating since late July when a group of heavily armed Peruvian traffickers reportedly invaded its land, triggering a crisis in the remote border region between Brazil and Peru.

On 5 August Brazilian federal police launched an operation in the region, arresting Joaquim Antônio Custódio Fadista, a Portuguese man alleged to have been operating as a cocaine trafficker.

But after the police pulled out, officers with the indigenous protection service (Funai) decided to return fearing a "massacre". They claimed that groups of men with rifles and machine guns were still at large in the rainforest. Reports suggest the traffickers may have been attempting to set up new smuggling routes, running through the tribe's land.

"We decided to come back here because we believed that these guys may be massacring the isolated [tribe]," Carlos Travassos, the head of Brazil's department for isolated indigenous peoples, told the Brazilian news website IG.

"We are more worried than ever. The situation could be one of the greatest blows we have seen to the work to protect isolated Indians in decades. A catastrophe … genocide!"

In an interview with the Globo Natureza website, the Funai co-ordinator for isolated groups, Antenor Vaz, said: "Either these guys have killed the isolated Indians or they have had contact with them. We know that these Indians defend themselves by attacking."

Facing mounting pressure, Funai's president, Márcio Meira, is on Tuesday expected to fly into a jungle position used to monitor the wellbeing of the area's indigenous people. The post is located about 23km (14 miles) from the Peruvian border and 240km from the already remote town of Feijo in Acre state.

The region made global headlines in 2008, when Funai released a series of startling aerial photographs proving the existence of never-contacted tribes there. The images showed tribesmen in one village, painted in red and pointing bows and arrows at a government aeroplane.

Earlier this year Fabricio Amorim, another Funai co-ordinator, said the region was home to "the greatest concentration of isolated groups in the Amazon and the world", though he added that illegal logging and drug trafficking represented major threats to such communities.

"We are extremely worried about this situation," said Fiona Watson, Brazil campaigner for Survival International. "It really highlights how out of control things are on the Peru side, and the urgent need for constant, long-term protection for the uncontacted tribes on both sides of the border."

She added that the situation was "potentially life threatening" for those communities.

José Carlos Meirelles, a veteran indigenous protection officer who is among the five-strong team of activists in the region, vowed to remain until action was taken.

"Since nobody from the Brazilian state is prepared to stay here, we took the decision… to come here," he wrote in one email to the media.

"We are completely surrounded," wrote Travassos. "We have nowhere to run. And we will not [run] until something is done."

Keith Millea
08-09-2011, 08:07 PM
They might be no-more...........:mad:

Magda Hassan
08-14-2011, 07:47 AM
Brazil: narco-massacre of "uncontacted" Amazon tribe?
Submitted by WW4 Report on Wed, 08/10/2011 - 01:07.
The head of Brazil's indigenous affairs agency, FUNAI, is to make an emergency visit to a remote Amazon outpost amid fears that members of an isolated tribe may have been "massacred" by drug traffickers. The move comes after a guard post protecting the "uncontacted" people was overrun by heavily-armed men, believed to be drug-traffickers from neighboring Peru. The post was ransacked and equipment destroyed. Fears mounted for the welfare of the indigenous bands after FUNAI workers found a rucksack apparently abandoned by one of the traffickers with a broken arrow inside. A rapid aerial survey has shown no trace of the uncontacted group, which made global headlines after being filmed from the air earlier this year. The post is located on the edge of the Xinane Isolated Indigenous Territory along the Río Envira in Acre state, some 32 kilometers from the border with Peru's department of Madre de Dios.

"We decided to come back here because we believed that these guys may be massacring the isolated [people]," said FUNAI chief Carlos Travassos. "Arrows are like the identity card of uncontacted Indians. We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee. Now we have good proof. We are more worried than ever. The situation could be one of the greatest blows we have seen to the work to protect isolated Indians in decades. A catastrophe… genocide!"

A package containing 20 kilograms of cocaine was also said to be found near the overrun outpost. Local reports indicate that police have detained one man in connection with the attack on the outpost, a Portuguese national who was arrested for drug trafficking in March and subsequently deported.

Last month, Asháninka (Kampa) tribespeople three hours upstream from the base reported that they had been warned by two-way radio that a heavily armed band of intruders had crossed the border from Peru into Brazil. Nearly two weeks later, 40 armed men emerged from the dense forest around the post and forced the guards there to flee. The post is operated by the Envira Ethno-Environmental Protection Front in cooperation with FUNAI's General Coordination for Isolated Indians. The outpost, on the banks of the Río Xinane, is intended to stem the flow of intruders into the headwaters of the Rîo Envira, into which the Xinane flows. These headwaters constitute a remote rainforest area where several isolated indigenous communities have taken refuge, shunning contact with the outside world.

José Carlos Meirelles, the former head of the post, has been helicoptered back in with a team, and reported that several groups of men with machine guns and rifles are in the forest surrounding the base. In a message to Survival International, Meirelles said, "We will remain here, come what may, until the Brazilian state decides to resolve this situation once and for all. Not for our protection, but for the protection of the Indians." Meirelles called for the government to send troops to hunt down the remaining traffickers. (Fox News Latino, The Guardian, AP via Terra, Colombia, Aug. 9; National Geographic News Watch, Survival International, El Comercio, Lima, Aug. 8)