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  • Aerial view of a burned tract of Amazon jungle cleared by loggers near Porto Velho, Brazil, August 29, 2019.

    Aerial view of a burned tract of Amazon jungle cleared by loggers near Porto Velho, Brazil, August 29, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 September 2019

"Today we have only one enemy: Brazil's government, Brazil's president," Mudjire Kayapo, an indigenous leader said.

Brazil's Attorney General's Office urged the Army to begin an "urgent operation" on Monday to prevent illegal loggers from invading and attacking the Alto Rio Guama Reserve, which is located in the state of Para and belongs to the Tembe people.

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In its request to the Army command, the Attorney General's Office alleged that the attack on the reserve is imminent due to threats made by loggers who were expelled from the indigenous territory in recent weeks.

The request for an urgent action to prevent the invasion was also sent to the Federal Police, the National Indian Foundation (Funai) and the regional government of Para.

The Alto Rio Guama Reserve, which is in the Parangominas municipality at the Amazon region, was created in 1989 and covers an area of ​​one thousand hectares, where about 148 Tembe and Turiwara indigenous are currently living.

According to the Attorney General's office, these indigenous peoples "face constant invasions mainly from illegal logging gangs; however, the problem has worsened since last year."

In May, the indigenous leaders denounced the death threats against them by illegal loggers and their gunmen. Despite this risk, however, the Alto Rio Guama communities took action on August 27 to expel the invaders without help from the Brazilian authorities.

The meme reads, "Ibama and Federal Police operate against deforestation and fires on indigenous lands in Matto Grosso. The reserve has 219 thousand hectares and is inhabited by some 1,500 Xavantes. Ibama says that almost all of the indigenous territory has already been destroyed by the fire."

As a result, they confiscated equipment and machines that the invaders used to deforest their reserve. In retaliation, however, loggers threatened to attack the villages.

On that date, the Attorney General's Office also requested that the Para's Federal Police act urgently to prevent attacks on the Xikrin people, which said that their reserve had been invaded by some 300 loggers.

These sort of aggressions against the indigenous lands at the Amazon rainforests are not sporadic occurences, but rather frequent events, which have been encouraged by the dismantling of environmental institutions carried out by Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

"The attack on the Amazon is facilitated by Bolsonaro's rhetoric and actions against indigenous communities and nature," the Survival International director Stephen Corry said and warned that Amazonian forests "are being destroyed at an extremely accelerated rate", which has no precedent over the last 50 years.

"Loggers, miners and landowners' predatory actions and threats have increased tremendously in the Bolsonaro's anti-indigenous government​​​​​​," said Sonia Guajarara, an indigenous woman who was the Socialism and Liberty Party vice-presidential candidate in the 2018 elections.​​​​​​​

In response to the businessmen's actions against their territories, the Brazilian indigenous peoples are increasing their contacts in order to defend the Amazon.

In the last week, for instance, in the Menkragnoti Reserve, which belongs to the Kayapo nation, a kind of "general assembly of the Xinguan forest peoples was held, in which representatives of 14 peoples participated," the BBC reported on Thuesday.

"Today we have only one enemy: Brazil's government, Brazil's president," Mudjire Kayapo, an indigenous leader told the British outlet.

"Although we do have internal disputes, people come together to fight against this government."

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