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Montevideo, September 21st 2023 - 10:25 UTC



Brazil: Two reported dead in new clash involving garimpeiros

Wednesday, April 13th 2022 - 09:49 UTC
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Illegal garimpo reached a record level last year, affecting the Yanomami people Illegal garimpo reached a record level last year, affecting the Yanomami people

A new armed confrontation allegedly involving garimpeiros has left at least two people dead and five others injured in Brazil's Yanomami Indigenous Land, it was reported.

“Garimpo” is the local term for exploitation of gold and other minerals and the people performing it are referred to as “garimpeiros.”

“A conflict occurred in the Pixanehabi community, members of the Tirei community who work for the garimpeiros invaded the Pixanehabi community. The garimpeiros gave the weapons to the Tirei community,” Junior Hekurari Yanomani, from the Yanomami Indigenous District Health Council, was quoted by O Globo as saying.

The invaders shot dead an indigenous man from the Pixanehabi village, “where they have no weapons and used sticks and knives and killed a Tirei,” he added.

According to this version of events, members of the native community in Pixanehabi who opposes the extraction of minerals also killed a garimpeiro. Videos on social media recorded the clashes showing “bloodied” people, some of whom suffered the “mutilation” of a limb while gunshots were heard, according to O Globo.

Following President Jair Bolsonaro's accession to power, garimpo has been on the rise in the Yanomami Indigenous Land, located in part of the states of Amazonas and Roraima, in northern Brazil.

About 5,000 thousand indigenous people protested Monday in Brasilia “against the garimpo that kills and destroys” the Amazon. Indigenous leader Dario Kopenahua demanded the federal government fulfilled its “role of investigating the bloodshed with the death of more Yanomanis and the destruction of our territory.”

Illegal garimpo reached a record level last year in the Yanomami indigenous reserve, the largest in Brazil, according to a report by the Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY) that includes stark accounts of abuses by miners, including sexual extortion of women and girls.

In the Yanomami reserve, which spans 9.7 million hectares in northern Brazil and is home to some 29,000 people, illegal gold mining increased 46 percent in 2021, affecting 3,272 hectares, the largest annual increase since monitoring began in 2018.

“This is the worst time of encroachment since the reserve was established 30 years ago,” the indigenous rights group said in a report based on satellite images and interviews.

Categories: Environment, Brazil.

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