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Union leader shot dead in Amazon
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Aug 26, 2011

A union leader in the Brazilian Amazon has been shot dead in a killing that brings the number of community activists killed since May to seven, a monitoring body said.

Valdemar Oliveira Barbosa was killed Thursday in an apparent hit-and-run by two men who fled on a motorcycle in the Brazilian state of Para, one of the country's most violent for its land conflicts, according to the Pastoral Land Commission.

In Brazil, around one percent of landowners hold 45 percent of arable land, according to official figures.

Officials with the Pastoral Land Commission said Barbosa's death was most likely due to a dispute over land issues.

Six farmers or activists were murdered between May and June in a region where they were trying to defend the rainforest.

The Commission has published a list of 125 activists and Amazon residents said to be on a death-threat list. Although the government has taken urgent measures to protect the others, it has admitted it does not have the means to guard all of them.

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