Nísio Gomes, a tribal chief in Brazil, was murdered by masked gunmen on Friday. The 59-year-old leader of the indigenous Guaviry tribe, part of the Guarani people who are spread across South America, was reportedly executed after 40 attackers stormed his village in the southwestern part of the country.
Gomes' body was dragged away. Members of the tribe added that others were taken as well, including a woman and a child, but the reports have not been confirmed. Additionally, 50 of the tribe's 60 members scattered into the jungle following the raid.
The Guarani had recently returned to their tribal lands near the Peruvian border after being expelled by ranchers a number of years ago.
It seems like the ranchers won’t be happy until they’ve eradicated the Guarani, stated Survival International's Director, Stephen Corry.
This level of sustained violence was commonplace in the past and it resulted in the extinction of thousands of tribes. It is utterly shameful that the Brazilian government allows it to continue today.
Indigenous tribes in Brazil are often at odds with industry, especially ranchers, loggers and farmers who seek to work on the ancestral land of indigenous peoples.
In 2003, another Guarani leader named Marcos Veron was beaten to death by three men allegedly hired by a local rancher. Veron's tribe and the rancher had been in a dispute over the land for a number of years and the chief was killed when trying to lead his people back after being evicted by a local court.
The three men, Carlos Roberto dos Santos, Estevão Romero and Jorge Cristaldo Insabralde, were convicted of kidnapping, torture and criminal conspiracy, but were acquitted of murder charges.
Additionally, a Brazilian tribe that was thought to have never been contacted by the outside world was attacked by an armed gang in August. The tribe was being monitored from afar by Brazil's Department for Isolated Indigenous Peoples when suspected cocaine smugglers raided the jungle village, causing what could be one of the greatest blows we have seen to the work to protect isolated Indians in decades. A catastrophe … genocide! according to indigenous protection service's Carlos Travassos.
These instances are not isolated in Brazil, and are a sadly common phenomenon in rapidly developing countries like Brazil. Last week in India, Catholic nun Valsa John was murdered by the so-called coal-mafia in Jharkhand.
John had been working with indigenous communities, helping them combat mining corporations that were taking over tribal land.
Her life was under constant threat, John's brother M. J. Baby told the Times of India.
She had mentioned about certain threats, but we never thought that the mafia would finish her off.