An illegally cut down tree in Maranhão state. Maranhão is Brazil’s poorest state and one of its most violent. At one of the frontlines of deforestation, there have been deadly conflicts between several indigenous communities and loggers. Photo: Lunae Parracho / Greenpeace

By Jonathan Watts
1 May 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO (The Guardian) – Brazilian farmers in Maranhão state have attacked an indigenous settlement, severing the hands and feet of some of their victims in what appears to be a brutal escalation of a territorial conflict.

Thirteen members of the Gamela community were hospitalised after the assault by ranchers armed with rifles and machetes in the municipality of Viana late on Sunday, according to the Indigenous Missionary Council.

The injured included the the leader of the group, Kum ’Tum Gamela, a former priest and coordinator of the Pastoral Land Commission who has received numerous death threats while campaigning for the lands rights of his people.

Last Friday, several dozen Gamela occupied an area of what they claim as traditional territory. It was seized during the military dictatorship (1964-85), divided up among local landowners, and is now primarily used as pasture for cattle. But the Gamela – a group of about 400 families who never left the area – insist the land was stolen, and since 2014 they have stepped up a campaign for it to be returned.

Their latest resettlement was timed to coincide with last week’s nationwide strike and an indigenous protest camp in Brasilia . It followed an earlier “wire-cutting movement” to destroy the boundary fences on the farms.

Local ranchers – who claim the land as their own – responded with violence. According to one report, they sent out a WhatsApp message accusing the Gamela of being thieves and property invaders, then gathered at a barbecue, drank large quantities of alcohol, and attacked at night.

According to survivors, they surrounded the Gamela settlement, fired numerous shots, and then hacked at the limbs of two people. One man had his hands cut off and his legs severed at the knee. Another lost both hands. There were no reports of deaths, though three people were said to be in serious condition in hospital. [more]

Brazilian farmers attack indigenous tribe with machetes in brutal land dispute


  1. Anonymous said...

    The day golf courses are outlawed, is the day I get serious about the environment. I won't hold my breath.  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Anonymous - you must the be the other idiot that posted on the other Desdemona article. Your "logic" is deeply, seriously flawed. I'm now guessing that your just another shill, probably paid to post ridiculous, distracting commentary. As for the environment, you nitwit - that's what you live in, so your decision to "not get serious" means you don't give a damn even about yourself.  


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