Indigenous Defender Of Brazilian Amazon Shot Dead By Illegal Loggers
An indigenous Brazilian man who dedicated his life to defending the Amazon has been shot dead by illegal loggers.
Paulo Paulino Guajajara, also known as Kwahu Tenetehar, was a member of Guardians of the Forest, a group of around 100 tribesmen who aim to defend the forest from illegal logging.
Mr Guajajara was shot in the neck while hunting on Friday inside the Arariboia reservation in Maranhao state and died in the jungle. His fellow tribesman Laercio Guajajara was shot in the arm but was able to escape.
Brazil's justice minister Sérgio Moro said federal police were investigating the incident.
In a tweet, he said: "We will spare no effort to bring those responsible for this serious crime to justice."
Speaking to non-profit organisation Survival International earlier this year, Mr Guajajara said: "It makes me so mad to see this [forest destruction]. These people think they can come here, into our home, and help themselves to our forest? No. We won't allow it. We don't break into their houses and rob them, do we? My blood is boiling. I'm so angry."
The country's president Jair Bolsonaro has previously expressed support for loggers while also criticising environmental campaigners and cutting the budget of the nation's environmental agency.
Researcher at Survival International Sarah Shenker - who has previously spent time with the Guardians of the Forest - condemned President Bolsonaro for his role in escalating violence between indigenous people and illegal loggers.
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She said: "Kwahu was completely dedicated to defending his forest and his uncontacted relatives, despite the risks. He was also one of the most humble people I've ever met.
"He knew that he might pay with his life, but he saw no alternative, as the authorities did nothing to protect the forest and uphold the rule of law.
"This is the reality of life for many of Brazil's indigenous people and it has got much worse under President Bolsonaro. He encourages the loggers and land grabbers, and strips the forest's defenders of protection, leaving them at the mercy of heavily armed and utterly ruthless logging mafias.
"But the Guardians won't give up, and nor will their allies. If President Bolsonaro thinks this kind of brutality will win, he's very much mistaken."
In September, Brazil's foreign minister Ernesto Araújo said there was a lack of scientific proof over the causes of global warming.
He said: "There is no climate change catastrophe. From the debate that is going on it would seem that the world is ending.
"So even if we assume that CO2 emissions directly control temperature, which the computer models do not show, Brazil is not the culprit."
Featured Image Credit: Sarah Shenker/Survival International