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Indigenous People Attack and Expel Loggers from Maranhão State Reserve

09/05/2014 - 09h13

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LUCAS REYES
FROM MANAUS

Loggers illegally working in an Indigenous land from the Kaapor ethnicity were tied up and attacked by armed Indigenous people before being expelled from the Alto Turiaçu reserve in Maranhão State.

The Indigenous group, who call themselves guardians of the forest, destroyed at least one truck belonging to the loggers.

The episode, which occurred about a month ago, was registered in images released on Thursday (4) by Reuters.

Some pictures show naked and immobilized loggers, lying on the ground, and being beaten with sticks by Indigenous people. At least one image shows one man running and being chased.

This event happened between Centro do Guilherme and Nova Olinda do Maranhão (400 km from São Luís). According to Funai (National Indian Foundation), the Kaapors have acted on their own for a month in order to expel loggers.

The foundation says it does not intend to interfere in the situation, except if there is a request from the agency or through the account of abuses and excesses resulting in deaths and injuries.

Asked about a possible illegality in the Indigenous group action, Funai only said that it will contact the government of Maranhão to avoid more severe cases.

Yesterday (4) there was not any information about the whereabouts of the loggers held by the Indigenous Kaapor group.

The Police from the Civil Police responsible in the area, Jarbas Alves, said he learned of the episode, but that no one had reported any occurrence. The Federal Police did not comment.

In January, FUNAI reported that two kaapors had been shot after dealing with loggers in the reserve. A year ago, the ethnicity released a manifesto saying that loggers entered the village, "shooting, burning houses, tying elderly people and stealing animals."

About 900 Indians live on Alto Turiaçu land, which has 3.5 times the area of the city of São Paulo.

Translated by SIMONE PALMA

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