Published: Friday 28 February 1997

Woodcutters operating in the Apyterewa indigenous area in the Para state are luring local Parakana Indians into facilitating smuggling mahogany.

Carlos Fausto, an expert from the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro, said that the crisis has been denied by the ministry of justice which has done nothing to mitigate the problem. Reportedly, at least 15 per cent of the 980,000-ha indigenous area has continued to be invaded by woodcutters, miners, farmers and settlers. Fausto blames the situation on the "planned omission" of law enforcing federal agencies.

For a long time, despite the lack of adequate inspection in the area, the Parakana Indians have always been helping federal agencies in curbing invasions and exploitation of hardwood. For instance, in 1993, they destroyed machines and tools belonging to the Perachi timber company, which had devastated 5,000 ha of indigenous land.

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