Indian Activist Slain in Brazil

Associated Press

Gunmen shot and killed an Indian leader in an ambush on a reservation in northeastern Brazil, police and an activist group said Friday.

Francisco de Assis Santana, 56, a Xukuru Indian also known as Chico Quele, was hit Thursday morning with two blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun near the village of Pe de Serra, Pernambuco, state police said.

The Catholic Church-linked Indigenous Missionary Council said Santana was on a list of Indian leaders targeted by some militant settlers resisting their removal from the Xukuru Indian reservation about 1,250 miles northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

Santana was instrumental in the Xukurus' long-running battle with the government to have their ancestral lands set aside as an Indian reservation, said Katia Vasco, a spokeswoman for the Indigenous Missionary Council.

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