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Eighteen illegal loggers have been arrested on land inhabited by uncontacted Indians in Ecuador, according to the El Comercio newspaper.
The arrests were made over the last few weeks, after the loggers were found by patrols cutting valuable cedar trees. The most recent arrest took place on July 6 when at least five people were found at a makeshift camp near the border with Peru.
On another occasion thirteen people, all Peruvians, were arrested. According to El Comercio, the loggers were in radio communication with Iquitos, the biggest town in the northern Peruvian Amazon.
Five hundred boards of wood, three chainsaws and three machetes were also found. A spokesperson for Ecuador’s government said that the loggers posed a huge threat to the rainforest and to the uncontacted Indians living there.
The loggers were all arrested within the Yasuni National park, part of the traditional territory of the Waorani Indians. The uncontacted people living there are known as the Taromenane and Tagaeri, believed to be sub-groups of the Waorani.