Guard protecting forest shot dead by illegal loggers

Paulo Paulino Guajajara was a leader in a group seeking to protect the Arariboia indigenous reserve from incursions

Paulo Paulino Guajajara was a leader in a group seeking to protect the Arariboia indigenous reserve from incursions

A young indigenous forest guard was shot dead and another was wounded Friday during an ambush by illegal loggers in Brazil's Amazon, according to officials.

Survival International says at least three "Amazon Guardians" have been killed in the past several years. He was an indigenous Indian "forest guardian", seen here painting his face on Arariboia indigenous land near the city of Amarante, Maranhao state, Brazil, September 10, 2019.

Brazil's populist c has drawn intense domestic and global criticism for failing to protect the Guardians' territory in the eastern Amazon region.

The group said the right-wing president's "assault on the country's environmental agencies is putting the rainforest and the people who live there at much greater risk". "We will spare no effort to bring those responsible for this serious crime to justice", he tweeted.

This incident comes amid increasing invasions of reservations by illegal loggers and miners.

The two men had left their village to look for water when the attack occurred, the Maranhao government's human rights secretariat said on Twitter.

Paulo Paulino Guajajara was shot and killed inside the Araribóia Indigenous territory in Maranhão state. These statements reinforce the anti-indigenous position of the current government and incite illegal action by those who seek to invade and exploit the territories already demarcated. "The recurring speeches by the president of the republic against the demarcation and regularization of territories, followed by a prejudiced regional environment against indigenous peoples, have been the main vector for invasions and violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil", said the early November note released by the council, known by its Portuguese acronym as CIMI.

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Paulino Guajajara, who was in his twenties and leaves behind one son, told Reuters in an interview, on the reservation in September that protecting the forest from intruders had become a unsafe task, but his people could not give in to fear.

The Guajajara people of the state of Maranhão knew they were in danger.

In order to patrol the vast reservation, the Guajajaras set up the Guardians of the Forest in 2012.

"I'm scared at times, but we have to lift up our heads and act. We are here fighting", he said.

"We have to preserve this life for our children's future", he said.

Guajajara, head of the pan-indigenous organization APIB, which represents many of Brazil's 900,000 native people, spoke to Reuters from Europe where she is meeting authorities to explain growing threats to Brazil's tribes and the forests they inhabit.

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