Community leader Paulo Sérgio Almeida Nascimento, 47, was shot to death in the early hours of Monday (Mar. 12) in rural Barcarena, outside Belém, state capital of Pará, northern Brazil. Nascimento was a member of an association of indigenous people, communities made up of descendents of slaves, and people of mixed indigenous descent and was known for bringing environmental crimes to light.

The victim is said to have been shot by a man as yet unidentified, a few hours after Nascimento came home in the district of Vila dos Cabanos, occupied by members of the landless movement. Witnesses claim he was shot around 3:30 am, after getting up to go to the bathroom, built outside his wooden house. The perpetrator ran into the woods.

The murder is being investigated by the local police, aided by the homicide division in the capital. Eight of Nascimento’s closest acquaintances are to be heard. Yesterday, agents went to the scene and talked to people who lived in contact with Nascimento or were around in his last hours to try to retrace the victim’s steps and find out what happened. However, Pará prosecutors confirmed that members of the community association in January this year complained they were threatened by military police agents. 

Nascimento and other members of the association had for some time been questioning the operations conducted by companies like Norwegian mining firm Hydro AluNorte, whose toxic waste polluted nearby rivers last month.
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