Heavily armed gold miners called garimpeiros reportedly killed an Amazonian tribe leader during a land invasion in a remote indigenous reserve in the northern part of Brazil.
One of the leaders of a village in Amapá state, Emyra Waiãpi, was stabbed to death according to local officials. The community leader’s body was found near the village of Mariry last week, Wednesday. Residents of the village have fled fearing violent conflict if they attempt to reclaim the gold-rich land. Law authorities have reportedly arrived in the area.
Tribe member said Kureni Waiãpi, 26 said, “The garimpeiros invaded the indigenous village and are there until today. They are heavily armed, they have machine guns. That is why we asking for help from the federal police. If nothing is done they will start to fight.”
Tensions are high in the Amazon region as far-right President Jair Bolsonaro vows to open reserves to mining. Bolsonaro has continuously advocated towards the development of the Amazon despite the record-high deforestation occurring in the world-famous rainforest.
Waiãpi said that the president encouraged invasions similar to this. “It is because he, the president, is threatening the indigenous peoples of Brazil,” he said.
Brazilian Senator Rodolfe Rodriguez said to local newspaper Diário do Amapá (translated), “This is the first violent invasion in 30 years since the demarcation of the indigenous reserves in Amapá.” The senator believes that there will be a “blood bath”.
Speaking to O Globo newspaper last Saturday prior to the incident, President Bolsonaro said some indigenous areas were “very rich [mineral] land” and that he was “looking for the ‘first world’ to explore these areas in partnership and add value.”