One month ago Pualino Guajajara, leader of the “Forest Guardians” was killed, together with a relative, by gunmen Brazil’s Maranhão state. Yesterday two indigenous leaders of his tribe have been shot dead and two others wounded. The attack on the members of the Guajajara tribe, which is known for the forest guardians who protect their territory against illegal deforestation, occurred on the margins of a federal highway near El-Betel village in the country’s north-east on Saturday.
The group was returning from a meeting when they were attacked by gunmen in a moving car. Indigenous tribes in Brazil are facing escalating violence during the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, who has promised to reduce tribal rights and encouraged the commercial exploitation of their protected lands. Tribes have faced violence from illegal loggers and miners.
Magno Guajajara, a spokesman for the tribe, said they did not know why the two men, who he identified as Firmino Guajajara and Raimundo Guajajara, had been shot. He said the attackers had lowered their car’s windows and opened fire on the group.
“They were shooting at everyone,” he said.
The incident happened in the Cana Brava indigenous reservation, which spans 137,000 hectares in the state of Maranhão and has 4,500 inhabitants, according to government records.
Paulo Paulino Guajajara, the “forest guardian” killed last month, was shot in a confrontation with illegal loggers not far from the site of Saturday’s attack.