Indigenous leader Laercio Guajajara, a "forest guardian", holds a gun as he prepares to search for illegal loggers on Arariboia indigenous land near the city of Amarante, Maranhao state, Brazil, September 10, 2019. Picture taken September 10, 2019. Indigenous leader Laercio Guajajara is gravely wounded and Paulo Paulino Guajajara was assassinated on Friday in a clash with loggers. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Rainforest protector is ambushed and killed
03:35 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

An indigenous leader was killed and another was injured when loggers allegedly ambushed them in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhao.

The attack happened on Friday when two members of a group known as “Forest Guardians” left their village in search of water. Five armed men approached and immediately started shooting at them, according to the Human Rights Secretary of Maranhao.

One of the indigenous leaders, Paulo Paulino Guajajara, was shot in the neck and died. The second person was shot in the back but was able to escape, according to Survival International, a nonprofit pro-indigenous organization.

Brazilian Minister of Justice and Public Security Sergio Moro called the incident a “terrible” crime.

“We will spare no effort to bring those responsible for this serious crime to justice,” Moro said in a tweet.

Brazilian Federal Police said they would investigate the attack.

The Guajarara are an indigenous tribe that works to protect the rainforest. The group has been continuously threatened by loggers who experts say have taken advantage of reduced controls and less oversight to seize control of forest lands.