New Delhi (NVI): A top Brazilian government official and expert on isolated Amazon tribes has been killed by an arrow that struck him in the chest as he approached an indigenous site.
Rieli Franciscato, 56, spent his career in the government’s indigenous affairs agency, Funai, working to set up reservations to protect uncontacted tribes.
Franciscato died in a remote region of Rondônia state in north-western Brazil. He was in the area to monitor a tribe as part of his work for the government’s indigenous agency.
He was originally sent to the area to shield the vulnerable group from threats posed by outsiders.
The incident occurred on the edge of the Uru Eu Wau Wau reservation, which has repeatedly been raided and plundered by loggers and miners over the years.
An NGO founded by Mr Franciscato described him as an “excellent, serious and dedicated professional”.
The Kaninde Ethno-Environmental Defence Association, which he helped create in the 1980s, said the indigenous group had no ability to distinguish between a friend or a foe from the outside world, according to media reports.
Indigenous people in Brazil are under increasing threat from invasions by illegal land grabbers, loggers and gold miners emboldened by the policies of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who wants to develop the Amazon and reduce the size of indigenous reservations.