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Murder in Bahia highlights centuries-old indigenous land struggle

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In the early hours of Sunday, September 4, 14-year-old Gustavo Silva da Conceição was awoken from his sleep and shot in the head. A member of the Pataxó indigenous community in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, Gustavo’s family had peacefully occupied a eucalyptus plantation that the Pataxó claim to be encroaching on their ancestral lands.

Eyewitness accounts say that a group of masked gunmen arrived at the occupation early that morning, carrying shotguns, rifles, and tear gas canisters. They opened fire on the tents assembled in the area, shooting Gustavo and another indigenous teenager. Gustavo was taken to the…

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