Land invasion forces Yanomami into local town

February 15, 2008

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A group of Yanomami Indians have spent the past ten days camped in a local Brazilian town following the invasion of their land by goldminers and ranchers.

Yanomami from the Ajarani area in the state of Roraima are camping in the nearby town of Caracaraí. A group of ranchers are illegally occupying Yanomami land in the area, cutting down the forest to make way for pasture and scaring away the animals and fish on which the Yanomami rely.

In 2004, a Brazilian court ordered the ranchers to leave the area. The ranchers have refused to leave, and one threatened in November to kill leader Davi Yanomami if he was forced to move.

Recent months have also seen the return of illegal goldminers to the Yanomami territory. When goldminers invaded their land in the 1980s and 1990s, twenty percent of the Yanomami died in just seven years.