Published: Wednesday 15 January 1997

The assault on hapless Indians trying to safeguard their homeland from avaricious miners and loggers continues. Recently, a group of loggers and miners went on a rampage in the Sarare reserve in Mato Grosso injuring about 14 Katitaulhu Indians, damaging a health post and school and looting tools and vehicles belonging to them. Many Indians have also received death threats from the loggers and miners combine.

For years now, the indigenous Indians have been trying to vacate their land off the illegal miners and loggers. Federal court orders dating back to 1991 to remove the invaders have not been enforced to date. The Katitaulhu Indians are one of the 12 Nambikwara subgroups and shot into prominence in the '70s when Brazil's military government built a road from Cuiaba in Mato Grosso to Porto Velho in Rondonia. They were forced to leave their villages and relocate elsewhere. In 1991, Nucleus for Indigenous Rights, a local ngo , filed a suit on behalf of the Nambikwara people for the removal of some 6,000 miners from the Sarare area. In response, the Brazilian environmental agency, Ibama, was asked to remove all the invaders by federal orders.

The recent attack was a response to the preparation of various Brazilian agencies like Funai towards mobilising forces to free Sarare of its illegal occupants.

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