Brazilian activist and government official, Rieli Franciscato, was fatally shot with an arrow in the Amazon rainforest after an encounter with members of an isolated tribe.
Franciscato, one of Brazil’s leading experts for indigenous people, was reportedly on a mission to protect the tribe from a possible hostile encounter with outsiders.
He was shot in the chest on the edge of the Uru Eu Wau Wau reservation in the western Brazilian state of Rondonia on Wednesday, September 9.
It is believed tribe members mistook Franciscato, 56. for an “invader”.
His death was witnessed by policeman, Paulo Ricardo Bressa, who was accompanying him. Bressa told Brazlian press that Franciscato had climbed a hill to get a better view to determine whether isolated tribal people were in the area.
He said they heard “the noise of an arrow that hit his chest”.
Franciscato “let out a cry, pulled out the arrow, and came running back”.
The defender of indigenous people “managed to run 50 to 60 meters and then he collapsed, lifeless”, Bressa said in an audio message posted by Brazilian media.
Rieli Franciscato is asked what Brazil he wants for the future. He says: “The Brazil I want for the future is one where all of this [indigenous lands] continues to be protected”
He was killed yesterday.
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🎥 © Roberto B Ossak pic.twitter.com/YOkJkqzlIF
— Survival International (@Survival) September 10, 2020
It has since emerged Franciscato was killed by a group of Indians whose lands are being occupied and destroyed by ranchers and loggers who are allegedly exploiting the resources.
Last year numerous fires were started outside and inside the reserve, and this year the ranchers have threatened to burn more of the territory, reports Survival International.
Survival’s senior researcher, Sarah Shenker, said: “Rieli’s death is a tragic and immeasurable loss for uncontacted tribes, for the forest, and for the fight to stop Brazil’s genocide.
“For decades he refused to accept the violent greed destroying the Amazon rainforest and its best guardians. He worked tirelessly to protect the lands of uncontacted tribes from outsiders.
“He dedicated his life to it, working on the front line to combat the illegal invasions by loggers, ranchers and miners who threaten to wipe out the most vulnerable peoples on the planet.”