Thursday, December 10, 2009
Source: The Irish Times
GUNMEN, BELIEVED to be ranchers, have launched an attack on the last survivor of an uncontacted Amazon tribe in a remote part of Brazil’s rainforest.
The tribesman, known as the “man of the hole” because of the pits he digs for trapping animals and because he stays in hiding, is believed to have survived.
The incident took place last month in Tanaru, an indigenous territory in the Amazon state of Rondonia, but the news has just emerged, said the UK advocacy group Survival International. Ranchers who oppose government efforts to protect the man’s land were the likeliest perpetrators, said group director Stephen Corry.
“His tribe has been massacred and now the ‘man of the hole’ faces the same fate. The ranchers must allow this man to live out his last days in peace on his own land, and the authorities must do all they can to protect it,” he said.
Officials from Funai, Brazil’s Indian affairs department, discovered its protection post was ransacked and found empty shotgun cartridges nearby. “This is a serious situation. The Indian’s life is being put in danger by the interests of the ranchers,” said Altair Algayer, a Funai official.
Police have investigated the incident but nobody has been charged. Funai believes the man survived the attack.
The man’s age and name is unknown, but he is believed to be the sole survivor of a tribe massacred by ranchers in the 1970s and 1980s. He traps animals by digging holes lined with spikes and, in the centre of his hut, he has dug a hole in which he hides when outsiders approach.