Brazil: Shooting of Raimundo Mota de Souza just latest attack on Quilombola community

Raimundo Mota de Souza, known as Junior,  was 38 years old, married and one of a family of 10 brothers in the Quilombola (Afro-descendant) community of Jibóia in Bahia state. On the evening of 13 July, Junior was working in the fields with his brothers. He and one brother were working some distance away from the rest of his brothers and nephews when four men pulled up in a car and opened fire on Junior. He was hit 10 times while his brother had to hide in a ditch to avoid being killed. The 4 men kept firing as they drove off.

Junior was the regional coordinator of the “Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores na Bahia” (Movement of Poor Farmers of Bahia) and had undertaken courses in community leadership and legal studies so that he could help in the struggle to legally establish  the land rights of the Quilombola community.

Following the killing of “João Bigode”, another member of the Quilombola community, in April 2016, Junior had become even more involved in the activities of the community to defend their rights. There has recently been a spate of attacks on members of the Quilombola community, none of which has been adequately investigated. On 16 July, 35 year old farmer Lindomar Fernandes Martins, was shot dead when a group of armed men burst into his home in the early hours of the morning and shot him dead. Brazil is now one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a land rights defender. The government of Brazil has failed to address the scale and consistent pattern of these killings.