Brazil state seeks federal troops over indigenous killings

The Brazilian state of Maranhao is asking the federal government to send National Guard troops to the Arariboia Indigenous Territory after a string of attacks, including five killings, targeting tribesmen known for their fight against illegal deforestation.

State authorities said they decided to seek federal help after Antonio Filho Providjncia Guajajara, a member of the Guajajara indigenous tribe, was shot in the head on April 4. He was found alive and taken to a nearby hospital.

The attack happened just a few days after another member of his indigenous community was slain. On March 31, Zezico Guajajara, a teacher who had repeatedly denounced illegal logging, was found shot to death on a road near his village.

Since November, five Guajajara men have been killed.

"I request that the National Guard be sent to the indigenous area, a federal territory, to prevent further conflicts and deaths," the state's human rights secretary, Francisco Gongalves, wrote in a letter to Justice and Public Security Minister Sergio Moro.

The letter cited "growing internal conflicts" in the indigenous territory, as well as links with organized crime in the region.

Continue reading on: