Members of Brazil's national police force are protecting the families of small farmers receiving death threats after a series of killings apparently linked to the conflict over land and logging in the Amazon.

Brazil's official government news service says the police escorted four adults and five children from their homes Saturday and are keeping them in a secure undisclosed location.

The Agencia Brasil said Sunday that among those receiving protection is the sister of a rubber tapper shot to death last month.

Four other people involved in land disputes have been killed in recent weeks, including a landless activist shot in the head less than a week ago.

The police were recently sent to the region to help local law enforcement.