On Ju;ly 28, 2019, heavily armed gold miners invaded a remote indigenous reserve in northern Brazil and stabbed to death one of its leaders, officials say. Residents of the village in Amapá state fled in fear and there were concerns violent clashes could erupt if they tried to reclaim the gold-rich land.
Tensions in the Amazon region are on the rise as far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is against the reserves, vows to open some of them to mining. Mr Bolsonaro says the indigenous territories are too big given the number of people living there, and critics accuse him of encouraging illegal mining and invasions of reserves. The group of 10 to 15 heavily armed miners overran the village Yvytotõ of the Wajãpi community and “tensions were high”, according to Brazil’s indigenous rights agency, Funai. The residents fled to the Mariry village, some 40 minutes away by foot, and have been warned not to try to come into any contact with the invaders.
Based on accounts from the Wajãpi, Funai said the miners had killed 68-year-old Emyra Wajãpi, whose body was found with stab marks in a river near Mariry…”This is the first violent invasion in 30 years since the demarcation of the indigenous reserves in Amapá,” Senator Rodolfe Rodrigues told local newspaper Diário do Amapá (in Portuguese), warning of a “blood bath”…. Bolsonaro, who took office in January 2019, has promised to integrate indigenous people into the rest of the population and questioned the existence of their protected territories, which are rights guaranteed in the country’s Constitution.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.
Excerpts from Brazil’s indigenous people: Miners kill one in invasion of protected reserve, BBC, July 28, 2019