Diamond miners killed 'by Indians'

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The Independent US

The bodies of 26 diamond prospectors have been found in remote Brazilian jungle, a week after reports of Indians massacring miners emerged, according to Brazilian police.

Firmino Aparecido, the city police chief of Espigao d'Oeste in Rondonia state, said it would take at least two days to recover the bodies from the Indian reservation.

Mr Aparecido said the 26 prospectors were shot by Cinta Larga Indians. Reports last week said that the Indians had massacred dozens of prospectors who entered the Roosevelt reservation. The reservation, 1,240 miles north west of Sao Paulo, is thought to hold South America's largest diamond reserves.

Police said on Wednesday that they had been in contact via satellite phone with a group of prospectors who said they had recovered 19 bodies and were looking for 14 more.

Indian reservations are under federal jurisdiction in Brazil and are off limits to state police. Federal police are on strike but have allowed federal agents to join the mission.

It is still not clear what set off the attack nor how the prospectors were killed. Mr Aparecido said the bodies of at least another 30 prospectors could still be somewhere inside the reservation.

Tensions between prospectors and Indians have flared often in recent years. Brazilian law forbids mining on Indian reservations, but several chiefs have charged prospectors for access to the reservation.

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