'Uncontacted' Amazon Tribe Attacks Peru Village

Some 200 men from Mashco-Piro tribe stole food, killed animals
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2014 8:45 AM CST
Updated Dec 28, 2014 7:00 PM CST
Peru Evacuates Village After 'Uncontacted' Tribe Attacks
This Nov. 2011 file photo shows members of the Mashco-Piro tribe, photographed at an undisclosed location near the Manu National Park in southeastern Peru.   (AP Photo/Diego Cortijo, Survival International, File)

Peru is evacuating a remote village near the Brazilian border after an unusual display of aggression from one of the 15 or so "uncontacted" tribes that live in its Amazon forests. Earlier this month, 200 men from the tribe, called Mashco-Piro, raided the village of Monte Salvado armed with bows and arrows."There were no injuries although the men fired off arrows," says a minister for intercultural affairs. "The villagers took refuge in a guard post. They are safe but have no food and are terrified." Officials are moving 39 people, 16 of whom are children, along with 22 more from nearby Puerto Nuevo to the region's capital, Puerto Maldonado. The Mashco-Piro raiders took tools, blankets, and food, reports the Guardian, as well as killed domestic animals. "We believe the Mashco-Piro are still in the area," says the official running the evacuation.

It's the third time this year that this particular tribe has traveled to Monte Salvado, reports the BBC, but this is the first time such a large group of just men (instead of families) have arrived armed. Some suggest the tribe is growing desperate as loggers and drug-traffickers encroach on its protected land; others point to climate change, which has led to steeper drops in temperature. "When there’s pressure on their territory or attacks against them, that’s when there are these violent reactions," one anthropologist tells the Guardian. The Mashco-Piro were first spotted in May 2011; more on the tribe here. (More Amazon rainforest stories.)

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