Cross Posted from rsn
Brazilian police are investigating whether the fatal shooting of three rural activists was linked to their effort to win rights to land also contested by owners of a sugar mill.
The activists were shot on Saturday as they got out of a car near a landless workers’ camp in the south-western Minas Gerais state.
A five-year-old girl, the granddaughter of two of those who were killed, survived the attack. No one has been arrested, a police spokesman said.
Watchdog groups said police were questioning land activists about the possibility the killings could have resulted from an internal conflict within their movement. The groups rejected that idea and accused landowners of paying gunmen to shoot the activists.
Carlos Calazans, head of the Minas Gerais branch of the federal department of land reform, known as Incra, said police were looking into the land dispute as a possible motive.
“It’s definitely one of the theories for the motive behind this barbarous crime,” he said. “I’ve no doubt these activists were summarily executed. But police have to follow all leads until they find the truth.”