[QODLink]
Archive
Landless activists killed in Brazil
Masked assailants have killed three landless activists in the past two days in an area of northeast Brazil known for violent land battles, federal officials and the Landless Workers Movement said.
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2004 20:30 GMT
Activists are grabbing farmland in a bid to hasten land reforms
Masked assailants have killed three landless activists in the past two days in an area of northeast Brazil known for violent land battles, federal officials and the Landless Workers Movement said.

Two Landless Workers Movement (MST) activists, brothers Edilson Rufino da Rocha, 37, and Francisco Manuel de Lima 27, were shot in their beds by armed assailants on Friday near the town of Passira, 66 miles west of Pernambuco state capital Recife.

A third, Josuel Fernandes da Silva, 33, was gunned down by three assassins on Thursday in Sao Jose da Coroa Grande, around 68 miles south of Recife, an MST leader said.

"They were victims of landowner gunmen in reprisal attacks," MST leader Edilson Barbosa said by cellphone from a funeral for two of the dead activists.

The latest killings came weeks after five landless activists were shot by assailants in the central Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

Slow-moving reform

They came amid a rising number of MST land occupations meant to speed President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's slow-moving land reform.

Brazil's human-rights secretary Nilmario Miranda was set to attend the funeral of the two activists and investigate the killings, which follow MST attempts to occupy a local ranch, state news agency Radiobras reported.

Under Brazil's constitution, farmland that is not used can be expropriated by the government and redistributed to some of
the hundreds of thousands of peasants waiting for plots in encampments across Brazil.

The MST grabs land to force legal decisions on possible expropriation. The invasions prompt clashes with landowners who form militias to protect property.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.