Image by CIR/Survival
The moment masked gunman opened fire on Indian tribespeople in Brazil was captured in extraordinary footage released last week by human rights groups. Ten people, including six children, were injured in the attack which is the latest outbreak of violence in the ongoing feud between the Makuxi tribe and local farmers over right to the land.
Whilst most ranchers have left the officially recognized Indian reserve on the Raposa-Serra do Sol in northern Brazil, a small group of rice farmers refuse to leave despite the efforts of police to remove them. Farmers have increasingly turned to violence as part of a campaign of intimidation against the indigenous population. The state has petitioned Brazil’s Supreme Court to allow the farmers to remain and their ruling is expected within the month.
The video shows gunmen believed to be working for local farmer and mayor, Paulo César Quartiero, firing assault rifles and throwing homemade bombs at an unarmed group of Makuxi. These graphic images are just the latest in a series of vicious attacks that have left twenty dead and hundreds wounded and despite the discovery of a large cache of weapons and ammunition at Quartiero’s ranch, he has since been released.Raposa-Serra do Sol, which is home to 19, 000 Indians from over five different Makuxi ethnic groups, was created in 2005 after years of campaigning by the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR). It is just one of the many sites of conflict between indigenous Indians and farmers across Brazil and despite official recognition of their right to live there, the violence looks set to continue well into the future. We’ll even throw in a free album.