Brazil indigenous attacked, hands severed in land dispute: advocates

Jose Ribamar from Brazil's indigenous Gamela tribe is pictured at a hospital after he was injured in a dispute over land in northern Brazil, in Sao Luis, Maranhao state, Brazil, May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lunae Parracho

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - More than a dozen members of an indigenous tribe were injured in a dispute over land in northern Brazil, including at least one whose hands were hacked off, according to reports from indigenous rights groups on Monday.

The Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi) said members of the Gamela tribe were leaving land recently reclaimed from cattle ranchers in Maranhao state when they were attacked on Sunday afternoon by dozens of men armed with guns, knives and clubs. No deaths were reported.

Three remained hospitalized in the state capital, Sao Luis, with severe bullet wounds from the violence, according to Cimi and the Pastoral Land Commission. Both groups were founded in the 1970s in connection with the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops.

Brazilian Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio sent federal police to prevent further conflicts and aid state authorities in investigating the incident, involving farmers and "supposed indigenous people" in Maranhao, according to a ministry release.

A representative for the state security office declined to comment on the matter. Police officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the May Day holiday.

(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Additional reporting by Lunae Parracho in Porto Alegre; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)