Operation Yanomami Shield – Boa Vista, Brazilian state’s capital Roraima
A troop of 100 policemen landed this Wednesday in Boa Vista, capital of the Brazilian state of Roraima, to reinforce the security of the Yanomami indigenous people who are suffering a serious health and security crisis in the presence of almost 20,000 illegal miners in their territory.
The agents deployed will be in charge of protecting the posts of the National Indian Foundation (Funai) and the health centers built in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory, the largest reserve in the South American country.
The arrival in the area of the ministers of Defense, José Múcio, and Human Rights, Silvio Almeida, together with the commanders of the Armed Forces, is also expected this Wednesday. The Yanomami Shield operation to regain control of the territory — which began on Monday — has agents from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment (Ibama), supported by Funai and by police officers from the National Force.
“Supply Control Bases”
In a statement, Ibama reported that a plane, a helicopter, an excavator and several logistical support structures for the miners were destroyed on Tuesday. Two weapons, three boats with some 5,000 liters of fuel, close to a ton of food, freezers, generators and Internet antennas were also found.
As part of the “logistical suffocation” operation, the authorities set up a control base on the Uraricoera river to prevent the flow of supplies. Everything seized so far will serve to supply this position and the next ones that will be deployed.
The aerial action was carried out by Ibama’s Specialized Inspection Group (GEF), which monitors clandestine landing strips. In addition, on February 1, the Brazilian Air Force began to control the airspace and restrict flights.
For their part, the ‘garimpeiros’ (illegal miners) began to flee fearing that the forces of order could arrest them. Gold prospectors have been illegally installed in this and other reserves for decades, but during the Jair Bolsonaro government (2019-2022) they felt supported by his speech in favor of the commercial exploitation of protected areas and increased in number and power.
Their presence has caused a deep health crisis among the indigenous people due to the rivers contamination by the mercury they use to separate the gold from the rocks or sand, spread of diseases and brutal violence .
Faced with this situation, the Government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva decreed a state of health emergency and ordered the withdrawal of the miners.