BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A confrontation between military police and members of the Guarani Kaiowá group south of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil near the Paraguay border left at least one Indigenous person dead and seven wounded, state authorities said. Three officers were also injured in the clash.
Videos posted on social media show a military police helicopter and cars passing by Indigenous people who have been on a rural property neighboring the Amambai reservation since Thursday. There are also images of wounded people.
The main council representing the Indigenous in Mato Grosso do Sul said Saturday in a statement that police arrived shooting and there was a violent repossession attempt. The Indigenous claim the area where a farm is located, adjacent to the village, is part of their ancestral territory. They call the area Guapoy territory.
The council talked of two deaths, but the state government’s advisory office reported one death and seven Indigenous hurt.
The state’s Justice and Public Safety Secretary Antonio Carlos Videira denied the action was a repossession attempt, which is the responsibility of the federal police in Brazil.
He said that military police were sent to the farm because they were better equipped, and that the agents were “met by gunfire.”
The clash comes weeks after journalist Dom Philips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira were murdered in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.
Around 10,000 Indigenous people live in the Amambaia reserve, the second largest in terms of population in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.