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Indigenous Indians accused of cannibalism in Brazil
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14:37, February 11, 2009

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Brazilian police charged six Indians of the Kulina tribe for murdering a local farmer and eating parts of his body, local daily O Globo reported Tuesday.

Ocelio Alves de Carvalho, 21, was found dead by his relatives on Feb. 3 in Envira, Amazonas state, his body bearing about 60 stab wounds. Several organs, including his heart, brain and liver, were missing. His family had reported him missing two days earlier.

According to police, De Carvalho had a good relationship with local Indians.

Local police chief Jose Carlos Correia da Silva said investigation was being hindered by Brazilian laws protecting indigenous peoples, which forbids local police to enter the tribal area, where the suspects are hiding.

"This case should have been given to the Federal Police," Silva said. "We have interrogated one of the suspects, but Funai (Brazil's National Indian Foundation) forced us to release him."

Experts said there is no tradition of cannibalism in the Kulina tribe. According to Maronilton da Silva Clementino, Envira's cabinet chief, alcoholism among local Indians may be one of the factors to blame.

"There is a high level of alcoholism among the Indians in this region. Funai is absent and does not help with that," he said.

A Funai representative has been in Envira since Feb. 5 but the foundation is yet to make a statement on the case.


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