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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Brazil: fears for safety of abducted missionaries
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 Concern for the safety of a group of kidnapped missionaries was increasing yesterday, with news of violent clashes between natives and landowners over a forthcoming change in the law aimed at evicting thousands of illegal settlers from indigenous lands. The three Consolata missionaries were abducted at dawn on Tuesday from their outpost at Surumu, in the indigenous territory of Raposa/Serra do Sol, in north Brazil.. They are being held hostage by a group of white settlers in the small village of Contão, around 200km from the capital Boa Vista. Negotiations for the return of Fr Ronildo França, Fr César Avellaneda, Brother João Carlos Martinez and some students of the indigenous formation centre broke down yesterday. At the same time a group of demonstrators attempted to occupy the Cathedral. "What is occurring is extremely critical" said Consolata Brother Carlo Zacquini, co-ordinator of the indigenous pastoral of Roraima. He pointed out that the flood of illegal settlers to the area was destroying the environment and threatening the survival of the native populations. He said: "The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 established the regularisation of all the indigenous territories of the Union within five years. But at least 15 years have passed with little progress. Justice Minister Marcio Thomaz Bastos, who on Christmas Eve announced the homologation of the land by the end of January, personally went to the Raposa territory and established that there is no doubt that it is indigenous territory that must be returned to its lawful owners". Source: MISNA
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