Loggers in Brazil have reportedly burned a young tribe girl alive in an effort to scare the local indigenous population from its land. The girl, who the Telegraph report was around the age of eight, came from one of Amazon’s last uncontacted tribes. The gruesome murder is said to have happened in October or November last year.
Apparently the girl had wandered away from her Awá tribe village, which consists of around 60 members who all live in complete isolation with the modern world, when she was captured by illegal loggers. Luis Carlos Guajajaras, a local leader from a separate tribe, said to Brazilian news sources that the loggers had tied the girl to a tree and then burned her alive. According to Guajajaras this was meant to be a warning to other indigenous tribes who live in a protected reserve in the north-eastern state of Maranhão.
“She was from another tribe, they live deep in the jungle, and have no contact with the outside world. It would have been the first time she had ever seen white men. We heard that they laughed as they burned her to death,” Guajajaras said.
News and evidence of this story are unfortunately few and limited. But this is understandable considering where the murder took place. But a third party, the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) which is a Catholic group, have said that they have seen footage of the girl’s charred remains.
Survival International, an organization which works for indigenous people’s rights around the world, reports that large areas of the Awá tribe’s territories have been destroyed by illegal logging. Members from the Awá tribe have been attacked by loggers before.
“The Awá rely on their forest to survive, but vast numbers of loggers are illegally invading their land, which now suffers one of the highest deforestation rates in the Amazon. More than 30% of one of the Awá’s territories has already been destroyed. […]The Awá have recently suffered a series of brutal attacks, and loggers have warned that the Indians will be killed if they go into their forest.”
FUNAI, a Brazilian government agency that is responsible for mapping out and protecting lands traditionally inhabited by indigenous people, have said that they are seeking more information about the reported murder. But I would expect it’ll be hard to find any substantial evidence in the Amazon forest two or even three months later.
But this is not an isolated case. CIMI reports that around 450 indigenous people have been killed by loggers between 2003 and 2010, and these are numbers that are acknowledged by FIMI. For example, last year the famous Amazon rainforest activist José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva was killed in an ambush near his home in Brazil. But it’s not just in Brazil that loggers are attacking people. In 2008, peaceful activists who were protecting an old-growth forest in Tasmania, Australia, was violently attacked by timber workers.
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