The Civil Police concluded, this Thursday (16), that Bernadete Pacifico, ialorixá and quilombola leader, was killed on the orders of a drug trafficking leader in the Quilombo Pitanga dos Palmares region, in Simões Filho, metropolitan region of Salvador.
In total, six people were indicted for the crime, five for the murder of Mãe Bernadete, and a sixth for illegal possession of a weapon, according to the Public Ministry of Bahia (MP-BA). One of the accused and executors is at large.
At the press conference held by the Civil Police, delegate Andréa Ribeiro, responsible for the investigations, stated that the quilombola leader was legitimized by the community and played a significant role in defending local interests and, when she confronted drug trafficking interests, she ended up being murdered.
Illegal exploitation and drug trafficking
According to the Civil Police, a resident of the quilombo, identified as Sérgio, is the instigator of the crime. He had had discussions with Bernadette, after the leader spoke out against illegal logging in the region he was part of. Sérgio then deduced that she was the author of a previous complaint, which resulted in the seizure of illegal wood in the region.
After the discussion, Sérgio informed the drug trafficking leaders in the region, Murilo dos Santos, the “Maquinista”, and Ydney Carlos, the “Café”, that Bernadete could disrupt the drug trafficking work, because she was attracting the police to the region. .
The investigation also found that drug traffickers had set up a tent called “Pitanga Point”, where they operated drug trades in the region.
Faced with the threat, they ordered the executioners, identified as Arielson, arrested in Araçás (BA), and Josevan, a fugitive, to invade Bernadette’s house. The quilombola leader was killed with twenty-five shots on August 17th of this year.
The accused were indicted for qualified homicide for base motives, in a cruel manner, with the use of a firearm and with no chance of defending the victim, according to the MP-BA. The body concluded that Mother Bernadette died because she fought against drug trafficking.
According to the Civil Police, there are other open investigations that are investigating drug trafficking and land conflicts in the quilombo region.
The quilombola leader was part of the Federal Government’s Human Rights Defenders Protection Program (PPDDH). In addition to armed escort, the headquarters of the Pitanga dos Palmares quilombo, where she lived, was monitored by security cameras.
A CNN Leandro Silva, the family’s lawyer, reported that some cameras were not working and that the quality of the equipment made it difficult to analyze the images.
The Ministry of Human Rights had proposed that members of Bernadette’s family change their identities, so that they could protect themselves from further criminal actions against the family.
The defense rejected the proposal, claiming that such a drastic change of identity would result in the rupture of community ties and would meet the objectives of the criminal group, which is the demobilization of the quilombola community.
At the beginning of November, the quilombola leader’s family hired a private expert to review the results of the examination and the death report carried out by the Civil Police of Bahia.
Who was Mother Bernadette
Bernadete Pacifico led the National Coordination of Quilombos Coordination (Conaq) and, according to a statement issued by the entity, dedicated her life “to preserving the culture, spirituality and history of her people”.
In the text, Conaq recalls that the murder of Binho do Quilombo, the leader’s son, remains unanswered, following the example of homicides committed against other quilombola leaders. “Injustice is added to yet another victim of the violence faced by those who dare to raise their voices in defense of our ancestral rights,” she said.
“Mother Bernadette, now silenced, was a shining light in the fight against discrimination, racism and marginalization. She worked on the front line to solve the case of her son Binho’s murder and bravely faced all the adversities that a black mother can face in the search for justice and in defending the memory and dignity of her son.”
Under the supervision of Marcos Rosendo
Source: CNN Brasil
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