| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Brazil police launch fresh raid to fight illegal mining in Yanomami lands

Brazil’s federal police said on Friday that they had launched a new operation to combat wildcat mining in Yanomami indigenous territory, amid a humanitarian crisis blamed on the region’s illegal gold miners.

The police operation supplements earlier this week’s enforcement raids by Brazil’s environmental and indigenous agencies to evict thousands of wildcat miners from the country’s largest indigenous reservation.

Police said they would try and destroy machinery used by illegal miners as part of the first phase of the operation, joining efforts with environmental agency Ibama, indigenous agency Funai, the National Force and the Defense Ministry.

“The main focus of the operation is fully removing non-indigenous people from the Yanomami territory,” the head of the federal police environment department, Humberto Freire, said in a statement.


More than 20,000 miners invaded the reservation in northern Brazil, bringing disease, sexual abuse and armed violence that has terrified the Yanomamis, estimated to be about 28,000 in number, and led to severe malnutrition and deaths.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government earlier this year declared a medical emergency for the Yanomamis and said it would have zero tolerance for mining on indigenous reservation land protected by Brazil’s Constitution.

Police said the final goal of their latest operation would be to “completely eradicate illegal mining” in the territory while protecting the Yanomamis.

  • Reuters