Brazil police arrest Amazon tribesmen for murder

Map of Brazil

Related Stories

Police in Brazil's Amazon region have arrested five indigenous members of the Tenharim tribe accused of killing three contractors who have been missing since mid-December.

The tribe denies any involvement in the disappearance of the three men.

Local groups accused tribe members of killing the three government workers in retaliation for the death of an indigenous leader.

The incident led to riots in the nearby city of Humaita.

Tension in the area began when indigenous leader Ivan Tenharim was run over by a car in the tribe's reserve on 3 December.

Other indigenous leaders accused local townspeople of killing him deliberately.

There is anger among residents of Humaita and nearby towns over the indigenous practice of setting up roadblocks and demanding money from drivers going through their lands.

On 16 December, the three contractors disappeared in the area. The men were last seen on a road that crossed the tribe's indigenous reserve.

They were named as Luciano Ferreira Freire, Stef Pinheiro and Aldeney Ribeiro Salvador, who were working for the federal government-owned electricity company, Eletrobras.

Nine days later, groups of townsmen attacked government buildings and set cars alight in Humaita demanding government action.

Hundreds of Tenharim tribe members then sought refuge at a local military barracks.

On December 28, more than 200 policemen were deployed in the reserve - some 600km (370 miles) south-west of the state capital, Manaus - to begin a search for the missing men.

The police presence may have reassured the indigenous people that it was safe to return.

This morning, federal police arrived at the reserve and arrested the five indigenous men, who have not been named.

Clashes between indigenous groups and non-indigenous locals are not uncommon in Brazil as they are often in conflict over land, logging and mining rights.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Latin America & Caribbean stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • TravelAround the world

    BBC Travel takes a look at the most striking images from the past seven days


  • A bicycle with a Copenhagen WheelClick Watch

    The wheel giving push bikes an extra boost by turning them into smart electric hybrids

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.