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News > Latin America

Amazon Tribe Takes Direct Action Against Loggers

  • Illegal loggers have long invaded areas of the Amazon rainforest. Tired of a lack of government assistance, the Ka’apor Indians have taken matters into their own hands. (Photo: REUTERS/Lunae Parracho)

    Illegal loggers have long invaded areas of the Amazon rainforest. Tired of a lack of government assistance, the Ka’apor Indians have taken matters into their own hands. (Photo: REUTERS/Lunae Parracho) | Photo: REUTERS

Published 5 September 2014
Opinion

Tired of government inaction against illegal loggers, the inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest act to defend their territory.

Indigenous people from the Ka’apor tribe in the northeast Maranhao state took on illegal loggers, sending its best hunters and warriors to protect their home, Reuters reported yesterday. The images published show the Amazon inhabitants taking matter into their own hands, capturing and detaining the loggers before setting fire to their vehicle and equipment.

With several tribes complaining about attacks and harassment from the loggers, the Ka’apor have set up monitoring camps in the areas they know are being illegally deforested.

The Amazonian rainforest is under constant attack from illegal loggers dealing in fine woods and are partly responsible for the roughly 6,000 square kilometers of rainforest lost every year.

In May, federal prosecutors reported a “situation of conflict involving Ka’apor Indians and illegal exploiters of the forest” to the Federal Police, the Brazilian Environmental Institute (Ibama), and the National Indian Foundations (Funai), asking these agencies to take urgent measures within ten days. The Ka'apor say that nothing was done.

After learning of an illegal loggers camp, Ka’apor chiefs set up a meeting with the most experienced warriors from other villages to plan an operation. Afterwards the group set out and expelled a dozen loggers they found invading their territory. The warriors stripped them, tied them up and beat those who resisted.

Before releasing them, one of the warriors reportedly told the loggers, “we’re doing this because you are stubborn. We told you not to come back, but you didn’t listen.”
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