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Cinta Larga Indians Acused of Killing Two Diamond Prospectors

Published by MAC on 2006-04-07

Cinta Larga Indians Acused of Killing Two Diamond Prospectors

The Associated Press, Brazil

7th April 2006

Associated Press, RIO DE JANEIRO - The Cinta Larga Indians in Brazil killed two diamond prospectors and wounded another that the Indians say were illegally mining diamonds on their Amazon reservation, police said.

Federal police inspector Mauro Sposito said the men were killed April 5 in a dispute over money the prospectors owed the Indians for being allowed on the reservation, which is believed to hold South America's largest diamond lode. There were no immediate arrests in connection with the killings.

The incident took place almost two years to the day after Cinta Larga Indians killed 29 prospectors who had been mining on the reservation that lies some 3,400 kilometers (2,100 miles) northwest of Rio de Janeiro. The Indians said miners paid for land use originally, but that the diamond miners expanded their mines beyond the original agreements.

At the time, Indians said the killings were meant to send a message that they no longer wanted prospectors on the reservation. Twenty-eight Indians have been charged in the 2004 killings, but the case has stalled over jurisdictional questions having to do with the special status of Indians and their reservations under Brazil's constitution.

Under Brazilian law, mining of any kind is illegal on Indian reservations, as is the presence of most non-Indians. But in recent years, federal authorities have opened some exceptions for Cinta Larga Indians to sell their diamonds.

The massacre ended a four-year-long diamond rush by miners from across Brazil who converged on the 2.7 million hectare (6.7 million acre) Roosevelt reservation.

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