Brazilian Amazon Tribal Expert Rieli Franciscato Killed By Arrow From Indigenous Group

Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Font Size:

A Brazilian government official who had been working to protect uncontacted tribes in the Amazon was killed after an indigenous group he was approaching allegedly shot him with an arrow, The Guardian reported.

56-year-old Rieli Franciscato had spent his career in the Brazilian government working to protect uncontacted tribes in the Amazon rainforest, according to The Guardian. He was approaching an uncontacted tribe near the Bolivian border Wednesday when he was struck with an arrow in the chest. (RELATED: Celebrities, Politicians Share Misinformation As They Spread Fear Over Amazon Fires)

“He cried out, pulled the arrow from his chest, ran 50 meters and collapsed, lifeless,” a policeman who was with Franciscato described, according to The Guardian.

Franciscato’s death comes as indigenous tribes face an increasing threat of losing their land to loggers and gold miners. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is also seeking to reduce the size of indigenous reservations and further develop the Amazon, The Guardian reported.

Indigenous tribes have no way of distinguishing who is approaching them and whether or not they are friendly, said Kanindé, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that was co-founded by Franciscato.

Kanindé’s co-founder and Franciscato’s friend, Ivaneide Cardozo, said that “we are feeling bewildered by so many deaths in this Brazil that no longer respects indigenous rights.”