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Brazil: three environmental activists killed

Brazillian rainforest

Brazillian rainforest

Three activists working to protect communities in the Amazon from illegal loggers have  been killed. Husband and wife team, Joao Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo, were shot dead on Wednesday,  near the city of Maraba. Their bodies were found inside the nature reserve, Praialta-Piranheira, where they had been working for the past 24 years. On Friday, rural leader Adelino Ramos was shot by a motorist as he sold vegetables in Rondonia's capital, Porto Velho.in the state of Rondonia.

The Catholic Church's Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) said Mr Ramos had denounced illegal loggers in the states of Acre, Amazonas and Rondonia, and called for a camp to be set up to house rural workers forced off their land. Mr Ramos survived a violent dispute in 1995, when 300 police officers opened fire on a landless workers' camp near the town of Corumbiara, killing at least 10 people.

The three activists had received many death threats.

Brazilian authorities have now called an emergency meeting in response to the killings.