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

UK helps employers with slow phase-in of job shield costs

British finance minister Rishi Sunak offered fresh help to employers hit by the coronavirus shutdown on Friday, announcing that future contributions they must make...

One new Covid-19 case from repatriations

There was one new Covid-19 case in Cyprus, the Health Ministry said on Friday, from a total of 2363 tests, bringing the total number...

Limassol: Dead body found in warehouse

  A body has been found in the light shaft of a warehouse on Nicos Georgiou street in Limassol, philenews reports. It said the body of...

Holy Synod to allow weddings during pre-Christmas fasting period

As a result of Covid-prompted wedding postponements, the Holy Synod has decided to allow wedding ceremonies during the pre-Christmas fasting period this year until...

President to discuss phase 3 with scientific advisors on Tuesday

  The team of scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak are due to hold a new meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday...


Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...

Spiced lamb with beetroot salad and scented yoghurt

Lay the lamb on a tray, skin side down. Rub with crushed garlic, sprinkle with spices and ground pistachios, wrap in plastic wrap and...

Easy seafood pasta with white wine sauce

Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, chopped 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream 1/3 cup white wine 300g spaghetti, roughly broken 300-400g of...

Traditional salads that will blow your mind away

This traditional salads will make you actually love salads! Cyprus may be famous for souvla and kleftiko but if you try the traditional salads with...