80 Indians killed by Brazil miners in Venezuela: Group

A group that represents Yanomami communities charged on Wednesday that illegal Brazilian miners killed as many as 80 Yanomamis in the Venezuelan jungle in July.

"On July 5, garimpeiros (illegal miners) burned down a communal hut where about 80 people lived" in the Irotatheri community in a remote area near the border with Brazil, Luis Ahiwei, secretary general of the group HOY told AFP.

Unidentified and charred corpses were discovered at the site by three members of the community who had been out hunting at the time of the attack, Ahiwei said, alleging that at one point the miners used helicopters to carry out the attack.

HOY, which represents hundreds of Yanomami communities, has reported the purported killings to prosecutors and asked the governments of Brazil and Venezuela to create a bilateral commission to investigate.

Gangs of garimpeiros come to the remote corner of the Amazon jungle straddling Brazil and Venezuela in search of gold and diamonds.

In the past, the Yanomami have been victims of physical violence, threats, abductions at the hands of garimpeiros, another indigenous organisation, Coiam, said in a statement.

In 1993, 16 women, children and elderly Yanomami were killed, it said.

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