Latin America & Caribbean

Peruvian government investigates attack by reclusive tribe

Uncontacted Mashco Piro tribe in south-east Peru (Gabriella Galli/uncontactedtribes.org) Image copyright Other
Image caption It is thought the Mashco Piro tribe had not been spotted by outsiders before August 2011

The Peruvian government has sent indigenous culture specialists to help a community in the Amazon rainforest after a man was killed by a member of a reclusive tribe.

The man was shot with an arrow when members of the isolated Mashco Piro tribe invaded his village, Shipetiari, in the rainforest.

It is the third time this year that the Mashco Piro people have been seen.

Anthropologists say they were probably looking for tools or food.

However, it is not known why the Mashco Piro attacked.

The group is estimated to number around 600 and they live in separated groups, constantly moving through the forest.

They occasionally make makeshift shelters along river banks and dig for turtle eggs.

Peru's government has forbidden physical contact with them and another dozen or so "uncontacted" indigenous tribes because they have little immunity or resistance to illnesses that other humans carry.

Anthropologists say that in the area of jungle where they have been seen, near the Madre de Dios river in southern Peru, some locals have been trying to tempt the Mashco Piro out of the forest with rewards, pitying what is seen as a primitive existence.

The Peruvian government has been financing a group of indigenous specialists for some time in the area to deal with contacts between settled communities and isolated tribes.

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