Marcos Arokona Yanomami is the latest member of the Yanomami people to be killed by illegal gold miners.
A conflict on the Yanomami Indigenous Land resulted in the death of two young indigenous people, aged 20 and 24, in Roraima. The victims were shot in the middle of the forest by armed miners, according to the Yanomami and Ye’kuana Indigenous Health District Council (Condisi-Y).
On 12 June 2020, Original Yanomami, 24, and Marcos Arokona, 20 were part of a group of 5 Yanomani hunting in the forest when they came across a group of illegal miners near a clandestine airstrip. According to a statement issued by the Hutukara Yanomami Association the group approached the miners’ camp to ask for food but when the miners saw the Yanomami they opened fire and hit one of the group.
The 5 ran into the forest but the miners followed and opened fire again hitting a second member of the group. The attack took place in the Maloca do Macuxi community, in the Parima River region, municipality of Alto Alegre.
There are an estimated 20,000 miners illegally prospecting for gold on Yanomami land in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 160 people and killed five members of the tribe.
On 3 July 2021, a Federal Judge ruled that the government must, as a matter of urgency, implement a plan to protect the Yanomami from COVID, including by removing the 20,000 miners.
The invasion of miners and the resulting escalation of violence has been exacerbated by pro-mining statements by President Bolsonaro and the introduction of new legislation to reduce environmental protections and restrict the power of pro-indigenous organisations such as FUNAI which protect the rights of indigenous peoples.