Drug Smugglers May Have Wiped Out Amazon Tribe

Uncontacted tribe missing after traffickers overrun lands
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2011 4:41 AM CDT
This picture released by Brazilian authorities earlier this year shows the tribe now feared extinct.   (FUNAI)

(Newser) – Authorities in Brazil fear that a "lost" tribe deep in the Amazon has been wiped out after encountering the outside world at its worst. The tribe, which had never previously been contacted by outsiders—and was photographed earlier this year aiming bows and arrows at a plane flying over their homes—is missing, and authorities believe they were either massacred or forced to flee deeper into the jungle by drug traffickers moving over the border from Peru, LiveScience reports.

Brazilian guards assigned to protect the tribe's lands were overrun by traffickers last month. After government forces regained control of the outpost, they discovered an arrowhead in one of the men's backpacks. Interrogation of a captured suspect convinced officials that a massacre had taken place in the jungle. "I was left with the strong impression that these guys had killed the Indians, at least a bunch of them," the chief of Brazil's Department of Isolated Indians wrote to his colleagues.

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