Indigenous leader killed by illegal loggers in the Amazon

Indigenous leader killed by illegal loggers in the Amazon
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A member of an indigenous group in northern Brazil that works to protect the Amazon rainforest was killed by illegal loggers during an ambush over the weekend, Reuters reports.

According to the news agency, the man, Paulo Paulino Guajajara, was an indigenous warrior who belonged to a group called the “Guardians of the Forest” and was also a member of the Guajarara tribe. He was reportedly shot by illegal loggers while he was on a hunt in Maranhao, a state in northern Brazil that spans part of the Amazon rainforest.

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Another member of the Guajarara tribe was also reportedly wounded during the ambush, but managed to escape.

As Reuters notes, Paulino Guajajara’s death comes as Brazil sees a rise in illegal loggers invading reservations and forest lands since President Jair Bolsonaro was elected. The right-wing leader has repeatedly called for the development of the Amazon region since taking office. 

Reports from earlier this year even said deforestation of Brazil's Amazon rose to a rate above three football fields per minute under his administration.

Sonia Guajajara, a member of the APIB, which is committed to fighting for indigenous peoples’ rights in Brazil, said on Twitter that it’s “time to stop this institutionalized genocide” after Paulino’s death. 

“Stop authorizing the bloodshed of our people!” she continued. 

In an interview with Reuters in September, Paulino Guajajara told the news agency that though protecting the forest is dangerous, he and his people must continue the work.

“I’m scared at times, but we have to lift up our heads and act. We are here fighting,” he said then.

“We have to preserve this life for our children’s future,” added Paulino Guajajara.