In Brazil, the public murder of a government official in Pará state has sparked renewed fear, as the war against stewards of the endangered Amazon rages on. Luiz Alberto Araújo, environment secretary on the city council of Altamira, was killed October 13 after being shot multiple times while sitting in his car in front of his home. His wife and two stepchildren were also in the car, but left unharmed, sending a clear message that Araújo’s death was the only objective of the attack.

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In his government role, Araújo battled against the growing problem of deforestation in Brazil and the repercussions from the recently built Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. His work earned him numerous death threats, and the official had recently moved from a similar role in another city to avoid danger. Now, in the weeks after his murder, many are calling for the government to step up its protections for environmental activists fighting against illegal logging and mining, as well as a host of humanitarian offenses, which have become common in Pará, one of Brazil’s poorest states.

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“The killing of Luiz Alberto Araújo marks a new low in the war waged against environmentalists in the Brazilian Amazon,” said Billy Kyte, campaign leader at the NGO Global Witness. “It sends a message that no one is untouchable.”

The Guardian reports that over 150 environmental activists have been killed in Brazil since 2012, but most were activists. Araújo’s murder marks the first time a government official has been targeted in the backlash against environmental protections that seeks to put an end to the destruction.

Via The Guardian

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