You may recall photos from February of this year, showing a previously uncontacted tribe in the rainforest of Brazil. Pretty amazing stuff. Tragically, it was announced earlier this week that the 200 members of this community have disappeared, under particularly terrifying circumstances. Brazilian officials are saying that the guard post meant to protect the tribe’s village was over-run by heavily armed men, thought to be drug traffickers, who now occupy the base and the area around where the village stood:
Fears are now mounting for the welfare of the Indians after workers from FUNAI (the government’s Indian Affairs Department) found one of the traffickers’ rucksacks with a broken arrow inside. A rapid survey by government officials has shown no trace of the Indians, who made worldwide headlines in February.
Police have reportedly found a package containing 20kg of cocaine nearby. It is feared the Envira River, where the post is located, has become an entry point into Brazil for cocaine smugglers from Peru.
Carlos Travassos, the head of the Brazilian government’s isolated Indians department, said today, ‘Arrows are like the identity card of uncontacted Indians. We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee. Now we have good proof. We are more worried than ever. This situation could be one of the biggest blows we have ever seen in the protection of uncontacted Indians in recent decades. It’s a catastrophe.’