Community leader Paulo Sérgio Almeida Nascimento, 47, was shot to death in the early hours of Monday, March 12th 2018 in rural Barcarena, outside Belém, state capital of Pará, northern Brazil.
Nascimento is said to have been shot by an unidentified man, a few hours after he came home in the district of Vila dos Cabanos, an area occupied by members of the landless movement MST. Nascimento was a member of an association representing a Quilombola community (afro-brazilian community of slave descent) and was known for bringing environmental crimes to light. He was a director of Asociación Caiquiama and was one of the most active campaigners against mining and hydro-electric projects because of the environmental damage caused by the discharge of by toxic waste. Witnesses claim he was shot around 3:30 am, after getting up to go to the bathroom, built outside his wooden house. The perpetrator ran into the woods.
This year, one of the members of the association went to the Military Prosecutor’s Office to say that leaders were being harassed by police officers and that the threats began after the community had filed complaints against a hydro-electric scheme. The police are employed as private security by the company and had previously been involved in attacks on members of the association.
However, the military police’s communications adviser said in a statement that, so far, no complaint regarding the murder of Paulo Sérgio has been registered with the authorities. According to lawyer Ismael Moraes “There were constant threats after the community launched the blockade on the hydro-electric scheme and there are witnesses who report that the vehicle in which the gunmen who murdered Paulo Sergio were driving belonged to the police”.