Global condemnation after indigenous 'Guardian of the Forest' killed in Amazon ambush


People from around the world have condemned the killing of a prominent indigenous Amazon warrior by illegal loggers.

The killing of an indigenous Brazilian land defender in an ambush by loggers in the Amazon rainforest has been met with widespread criticism.

Indigenous leader Paulo Paulino Guajajara was a member of "Guardians of the Forest", a group who attempt to protect their land from illegal logging.

The two men had left their village on Friday night to look for water when the attack occurred, the Human Rights Secretariat of the Maranhao governorate said on Twitter.

Paulo Paulino was shot in the neck and died in the jungle, according to the International Survival organization, who said his partner, Laercio, was injured but managed to escape.

A logger has also been reported missing.

Justice Minister Sergio Moro tweeted that the police will investigate the murder, which took place in the Arariboia indigenous territory, roughly 500 kilometres from state capital Sao Luis.

"Paulino and Laercio are the most recent victims of a state that refuses to comply with what the constitution determines," Greenpeace Brazil said in a statement.

Three other guardians have died in previous attacks.

Since taking office in January, Mr Bolsonaro has been accused of harming the Amazon and Indigenous people in order to benefit his supporters in the logging, mining and farming industries.

Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation (APIB), a body representing many of Brazil's 900,000 Indigenous people, said Mr Bolsonaro's government had serious questions to answer.

"The Bolsonaro government has indigenous blood on its hands," the APIB said in a statement.

"The increase in violence in indigenous territories is a direct result of his hateful speeches and steps taken against our people."

Sonia Guajajara, coordinator of the APIB, said on Twitter: "It is time to stop this institutionalized genocide. Stop authorizing the bloodshed of our people!".

Survival International researcher Sarah Shenker, who was in the region in April, said the work of the Ms Guajajara is important to protect other indigenous people in the area.

"The Brazilian government has to accept that it is their responsibility to protect those lands. That they do not, their absence there, is what pushes the guardians to assume this defence, a very hard and dangerous job," Ms Shenker told AFP.


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