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Friday, March 24, 2017
Brazil: missionaries and students kidnapped
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 Three Consolata missionaries were abducted yesterday in Surumu, inside the indigenous territory in Roraima State, north Brazil. Fr Ronildo França, Fr César Avellaneda, from Brazil and Colombia respectively, and Brother João Carlos Martinez from pain were beaten and tied up in the l Contao village square, 220 kilometres from the state capital Boa Vista before being abducted The Superior of the Consolata Missionaries in Brazil reported the kidnapping to the police. But it seems few agents are available in the remote area and reinforcements need to be brought in. Nine pupils present in the 'centre for indigenous training' at the Surumu mission have also been abducted. Nothing is known about the conditions in which they are being held. MISNA sources report that the abductors looted and devastated the mission building. "It is a miracle that the walls are still standing," said a source by telephone. The abduction was orchestrated by a well-known rice producer, who ­ along with many others - is opposed to Raposa/Serra do Sol allowing 15,000 Macuxi, Wapixana, Ingariko, Patamona and Taurepang indigenous people to live in the area. The episode seems to be part of a widespread mobilisation that could lead ­ according to reports published on-line bythe daily 'Brasil Norte' ­ to the complete closure of Roraima State by way of roadblocks on the main communication routes to the rest of the country. The protesters want to see the indigenous populations confined to small 'reserves' and the whites stationed in the surrounding territories. On 31 December MISNA reported turmoil in some parts of the state following the news that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva would sign the documents assigning Raposa/Serra do Sol to the indios. Article 231 of the Brazilian constitution grants the indigenous peoples "permanent possession" and "exclusive use" of the natural wealth contained in the soil, rivers and lakes "in the lands that they traditionally occupy". On Tuesday morning, the headquarters of FUNAI (National Indigenous Foundation) in Boa Vista was temporarily occupied by around 100 people, who arrived on board four small buses. It appears that Ana Paula Souto Maior, a foundation leader, was freed by military police following an abduction attempt. Federal police agents finally managed to reach the small village of Contão, around 200km from Boa Vista, capital of the Brazilian State of Roraima, where the three Consolata religious and students of the indigenous Formation Centre of the Surumu mission are held hostage.
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