Photo: A member of the now-missing tribe in Brazil's Amazon
Just last year, the first photos of a tribe of indigenous people in the Amazon were revealed to the world, but according to a tribal advocacy group, they may have been killed by Peruvian drug traffickers that forced their way past a Brazilian outpost.
Just outside the tribe’s lands stands an outpost placed to keep those outside the tribe from engaging them. However, according to Survival International, in July, heavily armed men, suspected of being Peruvian drug traffickers, ransacked the outpost, which is roughly 31 miles west of the Peru-Brazil border. Since then, Brazilian officials can find no sign of the indigenous people, and fear the worst.
”We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee,” Carlos Travassos, the head of Brazil’s department for isolated indigenous peoples told IG. “Now we have good proof. The situation could be one of the greatest blows we have seen to the work to protect isolated Indians in decades. A catastrophe … genocide!”
The proof Travassos is referring to is a broken arrow found in the bag of an alleged cocaine trafficker, Joaquim Antônio Custódio Fadista, a Portuguese man police arrested last week.
Until the photos were taken last year, the tribe had never come into contact with the outside world, and FUNAI (Survival International) the National Indian Foundation, is worried that aside from threats of violence against them, the tribe’s health is at risk as they have not built up immunities to outside illnesses. Either way, contact with those outside their tribe could have deadly results.
Near the tribe’s land police have reportedly found a package containing 20kg of cocaine. It is feared the Envira River, where the outpost is located, has become an entry point into Brazil for cocaine smugglers from Peru.