On the front page: Those present in the entourage of leader Maria Fátima Muniz de Andrade condemned the attack by ruralistas on the indigenous population of southern Bahia. Photo: Leo Otero.
This Sunday (21), an attack by landowners and rural residents – promoters of agribusiness in Brazil – resulted in the death of the indigenous Maria Fátima Muniz de Andrade, who worked as a maje (shaman) in her community of Pataxó Hã-hã-hãe.
The crime occurred in the municipality of Potiraguá, in the Caramuru-Catarina Paraguassu indigenous territory, claimed by the Pataxó people. At the scene, the arrest of two landowners for illegally carrying a weapon was reported; Both are suspected of having shot Muniz de Andrade.
Those present in the entourage of leader Maria Fátima Muniz de Andrade condemned the attack by ruralistas on the indigenous population of southern Bahia.
Chief Nailton Muniz Patas was also injured in the armed attack, suffering a gunshot wound to the kidney and requiring surgery. An Indigenous woman suffered a broken arm and other people were taken to hospital.
According to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples (MPI), around 200 ranchers and landowners in the area have organized through a messaging application to take back possession of the Inhuma hacienda, which was taken over by the Pataxó indigenous people just last Saturday (20). was recaptured.
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According to the Secretariat of Public Security of the State of Bahia (SSP-BA), the attack was organized by a group called the Zero Invasion Movement. For its part, the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib) released a statement condemning the armed aggression. In it he emphasizes the importance of ensuring the demarcation of indigenous territories in order to resolve the growing land conflicts in Brazil.
“The recapture of the Américo farm in the Caramuru area began in the early hours of last Saturday (20). The region faces the intransigence of encroaching landowners who call themselves traditional land owners and refer to the population as “fake Indians.” “The adoption of the interim framework underlines the intransigence of the invaders who feel entitled to carry out all kinds of violence against the people,” argues the indigenous association.
The Apib statements refer to the cancellation by the National Congress on December 14, 2023 of the majority of President Lula's vetoes against draft law 2903/2023, restoring the so-called “temporary framework”, a draft law that provides for the protection of territorial rights of abolishing indigenous peoples.
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“The proposal, now in force as Law 14,701/2023, has given even more impetus to farmers, businessmen and politicians opposed to the indigenous cause to attack indigenous communities and attempt to displace families from their traditional lands.” “To achieve this, they use insubordination and violence,” claims the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI).
Testimonies disseminated by the association of political organizations, territories, peoples and social movements in the autonomous struggle for land and territory, Teia dos Povos, assure that the military police, pretending to mediate, paved the way for the landowners to attack the Pataxó Hã -hã has paved people -hãe.
According to the reports, the ruralistas opened fire on the indigenous population despite the presence of the security forces and even more so with the consent and subsequent participation of the Bahian military police in the attack. In addition to the landowners detained, a Pataxó indigenous man was also arrested while carrying a handmade weapon.
“In addition to the beatings and torture, (the Pataxó indigenous peoples) suffered several material losses that were very important for their autonomy. The landowners set fire to their vehicles, broke their cell phones and spoiled their food,” denounces Teia dos Povos on his social networks.
It should be noted that this crime is just the latest in a wave of increasing violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil.
Recording of the attack by landowners and paramilitaries of the so-called “Zero Invasion Movement”.
According to CIMI, in just over 30 days (the period between December 14 and January 21), there were at least eight attacks against indigenous peoples in the south and extreme south of Bahia, four of them only in the first days of January 21. “The situation shows the need to quickly and effectively analyze and guarantee the territorial rights claimed by indigenous peoples,” emphasizes the organization.
On December 21, the chief of the Pataxó Hã-hã-hãe people, Lucas Santos Oliveira, 31, was killed in an ambush while returning with his son from the city of Pau Brasil to his village of Caramuru – Catarina Paraguassu.
According to CIMI, the killers were traveling on a motorcycle and so far there is not much information about the motives or suspects. Subsequently, on December 29, 2023, a group of Pataxó families from the municipality of Itacipiera, in the municipality of Trancoso, were attacked by gunmen who destroyed part of the community and burned motorcycles and equipment belonging to the indigenous population. The operation was an attempt to evict families from the area they inhabited.
On the same day, a businessman entered the village of Tibá and threatened women and children after the indigenous people banned the mining of sand for commercialization in the village of Cumuruxatibá and the surrounding region because it affected the sources of two rivers supplying the indigenous territory.
As recently as January 5, a local landowner, accompanied by a group of people not identified by the indigenous population, attempted to break the padlock that allowed access to a restored area in the Monte Pascoal region, near the village of Jitaí enabled. The territory held by the Pataxó families could not be attacked due to the rapid action of the Pataxó leaders.
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On January 8, the Pataxó indigenous people of the village of Quero Ver were surprised by the presence of task force military police officers in the forest area of the municipality without the consent of the chief and his leaders. The case was reported to the Military Police (PM) Command of the region and the Judiciary of the State of Bahia.
Around 200 MST farmer members protested by blocking the streets of Bahia in solidarity with the Pataxó Hã-hã-hãe indigenous people.
The next day, January 9, the body of indigenous Ademir Machado Reis was found near the village of Trevo do Parque. Last Tuesday (16), Roberto Bráz Ferreira was found dead in his house in the village of Barra Velha, with marks of ax blows on various parts of his body. Indigenous leaders say they don't know the motive or whether there are any suspects.
However, for CIMI it is clear who is behind the attacks.
“You don't have to do much research to know who are the masterminds of this 'parallel power', this armed militia that has been installed in Bahia, what connections it has to the anti-democratic acts that have spread throughout the country, and that openly and… Without any modesty or fear of punishment, they call for illegal actions against indigenous people, landless people and others because they firmly believe that they will not be punished. Can anyone explain this feeling of impunity?” claims the organization, which stands in solidarity with the claim of indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands.