Around 3,500 people are stranded on the Raposa Serra do Sol Indian reservation, in Roraima, because the bridge that provides access to the locale was burned at around 3 AM, on Wednesday, September 22.
The Urucuri bridge, which is 290 kilometers from the state capital, Boa Vista, provides access to the village of Maturuca, where a feast is being held to commemorate the homologation of the reserve. That is why thousands of people went there.
Until the bridge is rebuilt, only the government officials who are attending the event can depart from the locale, by plane.
The state secretary of Indigenous Rights, Adriano Nascimento, who made contact with the state government to report the fire, believes that the people responsible for burning the Raposa Serra do Sul Training and Cultural Center (which used to be the Surumu mission) last Saturday, September 17, are to blame for the attack on the bridge.
“I think they were the same people who set fire to the mission. But the state government does not accept this.”
According to the president of the National Indian Foundation (Funai), Mércio Pereira Gomes, the Army Engineers’ Battalion has already been activated to rebuilt the bridge. “I believe that the buses that brought people to the region will be able to leave tomorrow.”
The Raposa Serra do Sol reserve was authorized with continuous boundaries in April of this year. Approximately 15 thousand Indians live in a territory that comprises 1.74 million hectares. The decree establishes a period of 12 months for non-Indians to vacate the area.
“Funai and Incra employees are working on the agrarian reorganization. Many of the non-Indian families have already signed the papers, and various individuals in the small settlements have shown up spontaneously to receive indemnities,” the president of the Funai affirms. Nevertheless, none of the seven large rice growers has left the region so far, according to Gomes.
Despite the tense atmosphere, the president of the Funai says that the celebration will not be interrupted. “The indigenous peoples are relying on the authority of the state government. The State has the duty to identify and punish the guilty parties.”