By Debora Alvares
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BRASILIA, BRAZIL (AP)- Brazilian authorities said Friday they are sending reinforcements to protect an Indigenous group’s territory in the Amazon that was recently invaded by illegal miners.
The Ministry of Justice said the operation to protect the Xipaya Indigenous Land, located in Para state in northern Brazil, involves bolstering teams from the Federal Police, a joint military-civilian police unit, the government’s Indigenous affairs body and environmental inspection agencies.
Members of the Xipaya group denounced the invasion Thursday night on social networks. “We are very afraid,” Chief Juma Xipaya said in a video in which she reported that a large raft with machinery usable for gold mining had come down the Iriri River toward their territory.
About 200 Indigenous people live in the Xipaya reserve, which covers 179,000 hectares (690 square miles).
Other members of the community also asked for help through social media.
Mit? Xipaya wrote that armed people were invading the reserve and that an island was being destroyed.
“The raft is giant and has state-of-the-art equipment and even radar with gold capture and with antennas for communication,” the Indigenous woman wrote.
In the announcement of the government operation, the Federal Police force said it had not received any reports of “serious conflicts between Indians and outsiders.”