Brazilian police probe deadly shooting on Indigenous land

From the Associated Press

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s federal police said Sunday they are investigating a shooting that killed one and wounded two Yanomami Indigenous people, saying the main suspects were illegal gold miners working in that area of Roraima state.

A Yanomami Indigenous youth paints his face while traveling on a bus to a civic center to attend an event related to the annual Free Land Encampment protests, in Boa Vista, Roraima state, Brazil, Tuesday, April 25, 2023. The Free Land Encampment protests by Indigenous groups, held annually in Brazil’s capital, demand that the government protect their rights. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

A police statement said in a statement that the incident took place Saturday and added that the government sent members of the Air force and the Indigenous issues agency FUNAI to help with the probe.

Earlier this year, Brazil’s government pushed illegal gold miners out of Yanomami territory, saying their mining had caused widespread river contamination, famine and disease for one of the most isolated groups in the world.

Brazil’s government estimated about 20,000 people were engaged in illegal mining in February, often using toxic mercury to separate out gold. Since then, several federal police and military raids have made it harder for gold miners to reach that area.

An estimated 30,000 Yanomami people live in Brazil’s largest Indigenous territory, which covers an area roughly the size of Portugal and stretches across Roraima and Amazonas states in the northwestern corner of Brazil’s Amazon.