Latin America & Caribbean

Brazilian Indian dies in police eviction operation

Brazilian indigenous protest in Brasilia, 15 May 13
Image caption Brazilian indigenous groups have protested in Brasilia to have their ancestral lands demarcated

A Brazilian indigenous man has been killed during clashes with police at a farm in Mato Grosso do Sul state.

Police were trying to evict hundreds of members of the Terena ethnic group who had been camping there for two weeks.

The Indians say the farm, which is owned by a local politician, lies on their ancestral lands.

Police officers say they were executing a court order to evict the group but the Indians reacted violently to their approach.

The police say they were attacked with bows and arrows.

The Buriti farm was occupied on 15 May. It is in the Sidrolandia municipality, some 60 km from the state capital, Campo Grande.

The operation began in the early hours of the morning. Elite police troops arrived in 10 buses, backed up by federal police officers.

They say they failed to persuade the Indians to leave the area and the situation deteriorated.

The Brazilian Indigenous Agency (Funai) has identified the victim as 35-year-old Osiel Gabriel.

According to the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi) he was killed by gunfire.

At least three other Indians were injured.

Indigenous activists say farmers in Mato Grosso do Sul frequently use violence and threats to force them off their ancestral territory, and that the local authorities do little to protect them.

The state, which borders Bolivia and Paraguay, is one of the main soya producers in Brazil.

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