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Venezuela Probes Mindless Massacre in Remote Amazon Village
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On Wednesday, the public prosecutor of Venezuela said the government was investigating an alleged massacre of indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest. The investigation started after the government received word of the incident from a group representing the Yanomami tribe, and indigenous people native to southern Venezuela. In 1993, at least 16 Yanomami villagers had been killed by miners in Brazil trying to access natural resources in tribal territory. Eventually, Brazil convicted several of the attackers.

This time, the massacre occurred in a village near Venezuela’s border with Brazil. International native rights groups and fellow Yanomamis say that only three people out of 80 residents of the village are known to be alive. The survivors were hunters who were out of the village when a helicopter attacked and opened gunfire on the residents of the village.

Though the government said it was not in a position to immediately confirm that or the number of deaths, Survival International, a London-based organization said in a statement that another Yanomami had told the organization that only bones and charred bodies remained in the village.

  
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Amazon tribes, including the Yanomami are in constant struggle with heavily armed outsiders who try to tap natural resources of the jungles or bring conflict of interest. In most cases, the remoteness of tribal villages in rainforests causes incidents to go unreported.

Venezuela’s long border with Brazil is well-known for violent clashes between gold prospectors and native tribal people. The village where the sad incident took place is about a five-day walk from the capital city in the southern state of Amazonas in Venezuela. The incident took place in July, however, it is only now that reports are filtering back, and even that is happening because those three hunters were not present at the village when it was attacked from a helicopter.

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