Dozens of armed miners have invaded a remote indigenous reserve in northern Brazil and stabbed to death at least a single of its leaders, officials say.
Residents of a village in Amapá state fled in worry but a neighborhood leader stated they could attempt to reclaim it, warning of the danger of violent clashes.
Police have been sent to the region.
Tensions in the Amazon area are on the rise as far-proper President Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to open some of the protected places to mining.
Mr Bolsonaro says the indigenous territories are as well massive offered the quantity of persons living there. Critics accuse him of encouraging illegal mining and invasions of reserves.
On Saturday, Jawaruwa Wajãpi, a leader of the Wajãpi neighborhood, stated the miners had occupied the Mariry village. He pleaded with the federal government to send in the army.
“[The miners] are armed with rifles and other weapons. We’re in danger,” he stated in a voice message sent to Rodolfe Rodrigues, a single of the state’s senators. “There is danger of [more] deaths and conflict due to the fact I believe the Wajãpi will act quickly.”
Mr Rodrigues, whose celebration opposes the Bolsonaro government, stated 50 miners had invaded the reserve, and that the scenario was “really really serious”.
“This [would be] the initially violent invasion in 30 years considering that the demarcation of the indigenous reserves in Amapá,” he told neighborhood newspaper Diário do Amapá, saying a “blood bath” could occur (in Portuguese).
Regardless of the increasing tensions, killings of indigenous leaders are uncommon. The assassinated indigenous leader has been identified as Emyra Wajãpi, whose physique was identified with stab marks in a river close to Mariry on Wednesday.
On Saturday evening, Brazil’s indigenous rights agency, Funai, stated the federal police and an elite force had been sent to the region to investigate. It confirmed that a single individual had been killed, but stated the facts have been not however clear.
The 1,200 members of the Wajãpi neighborhood reside in dozens of villages in a 600,000-hectare reserve in Amapá, subsequent to the French Guiana.
Speaking earlier on Saturday, Mr Bolsonaro stated some of the indigenous territories have been on “really wealthy [mineral] land” and that he was “hunting for the ‘first world’ to discover these places in partnership and add worth,” according to O Globo newspaper (in Portuguese).
“That is the purpose for my choice to get closer to the US. That is why I want a individual of trust in the embassy in the US,” stated Mr Bolsonaro, who desires to appoint his personal congressman son, Eduardo, as ambassador.
He has not commented on the events in Amapá.
Mr Bolsonaro, who took workplace in January, has promised to integrate indigenous persons into the rest of the population and questioned the existence of their protected territories.
He has currently transferred the creation and limitation of reserves from Funai to the agriculture ministry, a controversial choice that was noticed as a victory for the highly effective agribusiness sector.
The president has also criticised the environmental protection agency, Ibama, and accused the national space institute, Inpe, of lying about the scale of deforestation in the Amazon.
Activists say the relaxation of the protections could lead to higher deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and threaten the existence of indigenous persons.