Indigenous Amazonian Child Burned to Death by Loggers

For decades, the lush Amazon rainforest in Brazil has served as the backdrop to escalating tensions between an indigenous population which calls the region home, and illegal loggers dead-set on exploiting its natural wealth -- though the worst of the resulting atrocities may be at hand. According to a representative from the Guajajara community in northeastern Brazil, a group of illegal loggers recently captured a young indian girl from a neighboring uncontacted tribe and burned her to death.

A local indigenous leader in the Brazilian state of Maranhão recently spoke with Terra regarding the incident which has yet to be confirmed by authorities, though video of the young girl's murder is said to exist. The representative said that the loggers who frequent his tribe's reservation area to arrange the illegal clearing of timber are often abusive, but that recently the outsiders inexplicably murdered a child they found belonging to another indigenous community.

"The loggers were buying wood in the hands of the [Guajajara] Indians and found a little girl [from the tribe Gwajá]. And they burned the child. It was just pure evilness. She is from another tribe, they live in the woods, and have no contact with white people," said the Guajajara leader.

He went on to add that indians are frequently beaten by loggers encroaching upon their reservations and that so far local police and government officials have turned a blind eye to the abuses.

Authorities from Brazil's indian affairs bureau, FUNAI, say that they've been made aware of the murder and are seeking more information, yet the incident is hardly an isolated case. The same agency acknowledges that from 2003 to 2010, 452 indigenous people were murdered in Brazil, though the actual number could be much higher given the intimidation often faced by isolated indian communities from outside threats.

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