The brothers Jesser Batista Cordeiro, 29 years old, and Nivaldo Batista Cordeiro, 32 years old, went missing on May 24 2016 and their bodies were found 2 days later with several bullet wounds, floating in the Candeias river, Buritis County, State of Rondonia.
Jesser and his brother, Nivaldo, were settlers in the “10 de Maio” Settlement, in the Alto Paraiso do Oeste region, Buritis County, State of Rondonia. The settlement is linked to a peasants organization called “Liga dos Camponeses Pobres” (LCP) and is located in an area called Vale do Jamari, a place that for years has had one of the worst figures for land violence in the whole country.
In 2013, farmer Caubi Moreira Quito moved a repossession lawsuit against the settlers but his requests were denied after it was confirmed that the farm was an illegal occupation of public land and had already been expropriated for agrarian reform.
The farmer was unwilling to comply with the judge’s decision so a violent and heated dispute for the region’s control started. The military police even attempted several repossession operations without a court order.
The peasants reported constant death threats from farmer Caubi Moreira Quito. According to them, he said he was going to kill all the senior landless farmers. Caubi Mareira Quito himself gave a statement to the police in which he admits having hired 10 military policemen as security guards for “his property” in exchange for lands.
Jesser’s and Nivaldo’s bodies were found in the river 5 Km from the place where the motorcycle was found with blood on it. The peasants organization “Liga dos Camponeses Pobres”, believes the murder was carried out by policemen because of the crime characteristics: the brothers left home in the morning, during daylight, and were travelling on a busy road; there was blood in the motorcycle but the bodies were dumped in a different location. So, LCP believes it would have been very hard for ordinary men to do this without drawing attention.