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Two indigenous men killed in Brazil, near where forest guardian died last month

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BRASILIA (Reuters) – Two indigenous men, members of the Guajajara tribe in northeastern Brazil, were shot dead on Saturday, and two others were hurt, not far from where a prominent tribesman who defended the Amazon rainforest was also killed last month, authorities said.

Indigenous tribes in Brazil are facing escalating violence during the presidency of Jair Bolsonario, who has promised to reduce tribal rights and encouraged the commercial exploitation of their protected lands. Tribes have faced violence especially from illegal loggers and miners.

Magno Guajajara, a spokesman for the tribe, said they did not know why the two men had been shot, whom he identified as Firmino Guajajara and Raimundo Guajajara. But the men were on a highway, coming back from a meeting, when the shooting happened.

“They were shooting at everyone,” he said.

Authorities said they were investigating but did not say if anyone had been detained.

The incident happened in the Cana Brava indigenous reservation, which spans 137,000 hectares (338,530 acres)in the state of Marahnao and has 4,500 inhabitants, according to government records.

Paulo Paulino Guajajara, the “forest guardian” killed last month was shot in a confrontation with illegal loggers.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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