Shootout wounds 5 as miners enter Indigenous land in Brazil

May 10, 2021 GMT

SAO PAULO (AP) — Indigenous leaders in Brazil’s Amazon told authorities Monday that five people were wounded in a half-hour shootout that erupted after miners entered their land in Roraima state near the border with Venezuela.

The report from the Yanomami-Yek’wana group sent to Brazil’s indigenous agency FUNAI, and obtained by The Associated Press said four miners and one Indigenous person were wounded. It said the incident was triggered by miners coming on seven boats Monday morning.

President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 with pledges to develop the vast Amazon region and has repeatedly said he opposes relatively small Indigenous groups controlling vast swaths of territory.

A report by the non-profit group Instituto Socioambiental said at the end of March that illegal miners ignoring the COVID-19 pandemic had intruded into 30% of Yanomami territory in 2020. It said the miners devastated areas last year equivalent to 500 soccer fields.

Also in March, federal prosecutors warned there was a danger of clashes in northern Brazil between the Munduruku people and mining prospectors armed with rifles and handguns who entered Indigenous lands in the Tapajós River basin of Para state.