Adenilson Kirixi Munduruku

Adenilson Kirixi Munduruku was killed on 07/11/2012 during Operation Eldorado, a mega action to dismantle illegal mining schemes in indigenous territories, and which aimed to destroy garimpo ferries operating illegally in the Munduruku and Kayabi Indigenous Lands.

There was disagreement between the Cacique and the official responsible for the operation. The latter pushed the Cacique and, in reaction one of the indigenous people pushed the arm of the delegate who fell in the water. Several police officers began firing on the Indians at the scene. Three shots hit the legs of the victim Adenilson Kirixi, who lost his balance, falling into the water.

At that moment, the deputy, who was still in the water, shot Adenildon in the  head. Adenilson’s body then sank in the river. The body was only rescued the following day and was later exhumed for a post mortem which, confirmed that Adenilson was killed by a fourth shot, in the back of the neck indicating that he was executed.

Operation Eldorado was triggered to deal with illegal mining in indigenous territories, and aimed to destroy garimpo rafts that operated illegally in the Munduruku and Kayabi Indigenous Lands. Although a meeting was held between police and indigenous people, in order to obtain an understanding of how to destroy rafts with mining dredges. 

Before they could reach agreement with the indigenous people, a group of agents went to the village to destroy one of the ferries anchored on the Teles river. When they learned that the police operation was going to take place, some indigenous people tried to remove goods from the interior of the raft that could be used by the community, such as a refrigerator, stove and freezer. This caused a misunderstanding between the police and the indigenous people, who ended up being shot at with tear gas.  Several indigenous people were injured and Adenilson Kirixi Munduruku was murdered.

Adenilson Kirixi Munduruku, belonging to the Munduruku ethnic group, lived in the Teles Pires Village. Its people are in constant conflict with businessmen, agribusiness landowners and mega-hydroelectric contractors on the Teles Pires, Xingu and Madeira rivers, among others. Thus, Adenilson died defending his territory against another attack by the Brazilian State itself.

In November 2012 more than 100 civil society entities made representation to the MPF requesting an investigation into what happened in the Teles Pires Village and attributing the responsibility for the death of Adenilson to the Brazilian State. Only in July 2014 did the MPF initiate a prosecution in the Federal Court in Itaituba of Federal Police officer (PF) Antônio Carlos Moriel Sanches for the crime of qualified homicide of Adenilson Kirixi Munduruku.

However, in November 2014, Itaituba’s Federal Court delivered a verdict summarily dismissing the case against Antônio Carlos Moriel Sanches, on the grounds of that he acted in self-defence.  In November 2016, the MPF filed a lawsuit claiming 10 million in compensation for the police action that injured and killed 9 indigenous people.

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Department/Province/State:Mato Grosso



Date of Killing:07/11/2012

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Community leader

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:Civil and Political Rights, ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Environmental Rights, Extractive industries/Mega projects, Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Land Rights

More information:Front line Defenders

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