Fears that "Lost" Amazon Tribe Was Attacked by Drug Traffickers

Brazil's National Indian Foundation says a guard post protecting the country's recently discovered, uncontacted Amazon tribe was overrun by heavily armed men believed to be Peruvian drug traffickers.

The tribe gained world wide attention after airplanes took aerial footage of the estimated 200 person group in February.

The foundation told AP that the outpost was attacked late in July by what they believe were drug traffickers from Peru that chased away members of the isolated tribe living in the area.

The aid group Survival International reports that foundation workers found one of the traffickers 'rucksaks' or backpacks with a broken tribal arrow inside.

"Arrows are like the identity card of uncontacted Indians. We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee. Now we have good proof. We are more worried than ever. This situation could be one of the biggest blows we have ever seen in the protection of uncontacted Indians in recent decades. It’s a catastrophe, ... genocide," Carlos Travassos, the head of the Brazilian government’s isolated Indians department, said to Survival International.

The Guardian newspaper reports that the Funai coordinator for isolated groups, Antenor Vaz, said in an interview with the Globo Natureza website, "either these guys have killed the isolated Indians or they have had contact with them. We know that these Indians defend themselves by attacking."

Police have also found a 20kg cocaine package near the tribe's former grounds and are in the Amazon searching for remaining drug traffickers in the area, according to the Survival International report released Monday.

A press officer says foundation president Mario Meira is expected to arrive Tuesday at the outpost in the northwestern state of Acre, 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the Peru border. The officer asked not to be identified because she was not authorized to speak on the matter.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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