Two dead in clash between Yanomamis on reservation invaded by gold miners

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BRASILIA, April 12 (Reuters) - An indigenous group armed by illegal gold miners attacked a Yanomami village on their vast reservation in northern Brazil, killing two of its members and wounding five people, a tribal leader said on Tuesday.

Junior Hekurari, head of a Yanomami health organization known as CONDISI, said the clash between the two communities was fostered by wildcat gold miners who have increasingly invaded the reservation over the last three years.

"With the support of the miners who supplied them with guns, the Tirei community attacked another called Pixanehabi," Hekurari said in a phone interview from the state of Roraima bordering Venezuela.

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He said five people were wounded in the shooting at midday on Monday, including a miner, and they were waiting to be airlifted to the state capital of Boa Vista.

Roraima state government said it was a federal matter. Brazil's indigenous affairs agency Funai did not respond to a request for comment.

Federal police said they had no knowledge of the shooting in the region of Xitei close to the border with Venezuela.

Brazil's largest reservation is the size of Portugal and was created 30 years ago to protect the Yanomami territory from illegal gold miners, but high gold prices and tacit support from far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has set off a new gold rush.

A report published on Monday by the Hutukara Yanomami Association found a 46% rise in wildcat mining last year on rivers in the reservation where some 29,000 Yanomami live.

The boom has brought disease, violence and grave human rights violations on the Yanomami people that law enforcement has failed to stop under the Bolsonaro government, which has argued for more mining on indigenous lands. read more

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Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Richard Chang

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