A policeman is killed and another one is tortured in MST camp, in Brazil

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 On Sunday, February 6, 2005 the police officer Luiz Pereira da Silva was murdered inside a MST camp in the Brazilian city of Quipapá, Pernambuco. His colleague, police officer Cícero Jacinto da Silva, was captured and tortured. Another policeman, Adílson Alves Aroeiras, escaped. This week authorities from Pernambuco said they will strengthen the investigation.

The three police officers were from the 10th Batalhão da PM (Military Police Battalion). They were travelling in an unmarked police car. Members of the MST destroyed the car with scythes, and set fire to it.

The policemen were pursuing José Ricardo de Oliveira Rodrigues. Oliveira Rodrigues is accused of assaulting banks and robbery of goods transported by vehicles in the roads of the region. He hid at the MST camp known as "Bananeiras" (Banana tree). The peasants interfered with the arrest of Oliveira Rodrigues and got into a conflict with the police. Police officer Luiz Pereira da Silva was killed by three gunshots. Police officer Cícero Jacinto da Silva was captured, and later tortured. Officer Adílson Alves escaped. The MST activists disarmed the officers and took their bulletproof vests.

Later on Saturday (February 7, 2005), Police Commander Major Sillas Charamba negotiated the release of Jacinto da Silva. The policemen's pistols were returned, but the bulletproof vests could not be because they had been destroyed.

The MST says that the former MST leader Oliveira Rodrigues was already banished from the moviment. The MST says the peasants didn't know that the three men were policemen, that Oliveira Rodrigues deceived the other peasants, and that the policemen could not be identified as police officers. The MST say they have previously brought Oliveira Rodrigues to the attention of the police for the alleged theft of a motorcycle and beating of a woman. [1]

The MST regional coordinator Jaime Amorim has been invited to go to the town Police Station and explain to the police that the MST has already denounced Oliveira Rodrigues. According to the Police Comissaire Antônio Carlos Câmara there are no recorded complaints concerning Oliveira Rodrigues from the MST at the police station.

The Regional Superintendent of the National Institute of Agrarian Development (Incra) in Pernambuco, Maria Oliveira, expects the arrival of a special federal task force this week (February 15, 2005). The force will assist in the disarmament of MST members from the Bananeiras camp.

The Secretariat of Social Defense of Pernambuco announced the backing of the investigations with the help of the Group of Special Operations and the Nucleus Specialized in the Verification of Multiple Homicides.

The Police requested that Incra provide more information about the MST members from Bananeiras camp, some of whom are suspected of murderer and torture, so they can be properly investigated.