News World Brazil feds raid illegal miners in Amazon as environmental enforcement ratchets up

Brazil feds raid illegal miners in Amazon as environmental enforcement ratchets up

Federal agents in Brazil exchanged gunfire with illegal miners in the Amazon state of Para on Friday, according to Reuters witnesses, in a dramatic example of how Brazil has stepped up environmental enforcement in the wake of rainforest fires.

Federal police and agents with environmental enforcement agency Ibama were carrying out a raid on illegal wildcat miners near the Ituna/Itatá indigenous reserve, which crosses into several municipalities including the city of Altamira, according to two Reuters witnesses.

“They (the miners) hid in the forest and shot at the team,” said Hugo Loss, Ibama’s national coordinator of enforcement operations, who accompanied the mission.

The agents returned fire, but all of the miners escaped into the woods and no suspects were apprehended. No-one was injured, according to the official. Ibama and the federal police destroyed two backhoes and three other pieces of mining equipment.

Ibama had largely rolled back its field operations in Para state so far this year, over failure to reach an agreement with police at the state-level to offer support, according to Loss. State police generally accompany Ibama on potentially dangerous operations.

That came on top of efforts by the government of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro to weaken Ibama, including prohibiting agents from destroying machinery used to commit environmental crimes and grounding the agency’s special forces unit used on riskier raids, according to a Reuters investigation.

But news broke last week that fires in the Amazon surged to their highest level since 2010 and provoked international criticism that Brazil was not doing enough to protect the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

Following several days of public outcry, Bolsonaro authorized the military to support firefighting efforts, with his justice minister further issuing a decree allowing federal police to support environmental operations.

That federal support allowed for Ibama-organized raids such as the one on Friday to be carried out, Loss said. The raid was not directly related to the fires.

“Only now with the recognition of alarming deforestation and fire data and with the (justice minister’s) decree, did we have conditions allowing us to operate in this area,” he said.

“In this area we had operations planned for June and July, but we weren’t able to execute them… because of lack of support.”

Illegal mining contributes to overall deforestation in Brazil, with roughly 10% of the area of the indigenous reserve near the raid having been deforested this year alone, Loss said.


Top Stories

379 booked in past 24 hours for breaking decrees

Police booked 379 drivers and pedestrians in the past 24 hours for breaking a stay at home decree that allows people to leave the...

Police intensify Paphos restriction checks following violations

Police will be intensifying restriction violation checks in Paphos, as yesterday saw an increase in the number of people not adhering to the restriction...

Cypriot, UK FMs discuss issues concerning respective nationals amid coronavirus pandemic

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides had on Saturday evening a telephone conversation with his British counterpart, Dominic Raab, to discuss developments regarding the coronavirus...

Windy with possibility of showers, dust from this evening

Weak low pressure is affecting the area while there will be dust in the atmosphere from Sunday evening until Wednesday, the Met Office said. Today...

Army in the streets of Johannesburg

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) patrol the steets on the first day of a nationwide lockdown for 21 days to...


Village salad

A must-have with every meal is a village salad. You will find it in every tavern or greek restaurant you visit in Cyprus. Make...

Courgettes with eggs

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the courgettes at a medium heat until they soften. Add salt and add the eggs....

Classic Pastitsio

Prepare the mince sauce: heat the butter in a pan and sauté the mince with the onion and garlic until nicely browned, mixing well....

Grilled vegetable and goat cheese rolls

Brush the vegetables with olive oil and season. Heat a pan/griddle and cook them carefully until golden on both sides, making sure their shape...