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Amazon’s indigenous tribe shoots spear at expert, killing him on the spot

A Brazilian expert on the Amazon tribes was killed by an arrow that struck him in the chest as he approached an indigenous site.

Rieli Franciscato, 56, died on Wednesday in a remote region of Rondônia state in north-western Brazil.

He was in the area to monitor a tribe as part of his work for the government’s indigenous agency, Funai.

Witnesses said Mr Franciscato and his party came under fire as they approached an indigenous group.




Mr Franciscato, who was accompanied by police, attempted to take shelter behind a vehicle, but was struck in the chest by an arrow, witnesses said.

A policeman who witnessed the incident said Mr Franciscato managed to remove the arrow, which hit him above the heart.

“He cried out, pulled the arrow from his chest, ran 50m (164ft) and collapsed, lifeless,” the officer said in an audio recording posted to social media.



A photojournalist in the region, Gabriel Uchida who also witnessed the incident, said the tribe was usually “a peaceful group”, but “this time, there were just five armed men – a war party”.

Indigenous groups in the Amazon and elsewhere in the world have been known to react violently to outsiders on their lands.

An NGO founded by Mr Franciscato described him as an “excellent, serious and dedicated professional”.

The Kaninde Ethno-Environmental Defence Association, which he helped create in the 1980s, said the indigenous group had no ability to distinguish between a friend or a foe from the outside world.


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