Guajajara leader murdered in land conflict

June 10, 2005

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An old Guajajara Indian leader, José Araújo Guajajara, was murdered on 21 May this year by a group of armed men who stormed into his village, setting fire to houses and shooting at the Indians. José Araújo's son Wilson was wounded in the attack and his young daughter was raped.

The Guajajara are pressing for the recognition of a piece of their land. It is believed the attackers were working on behalf of people who have invaded this area, to plant soya and eucalyptus and burn wood to sell as charcoal. Since the murder, ten Guajajara leaders have received death threats.

Police have arrested one of the men who carried out the attacks, and arrest warrants have been issued for three more men, but the remainder are still free. The Guajajara are calling for police protection and a full investigation, and for the culprits to be arrested and put on trial.

Brazilian Indigenous People