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PRESS RELEASE

Attack of Syngenta’s armed militia results in deaths and woundeds Brazil

21/10/07

Wednesday 24 October 2007, by LRAN

During an attack of an armed militia with around 40 gunmen to the
peasant’s camp at the experimental field trial of Syngenta Seeds
multinational, at Santa Teresa do Oeste, at 13:30 of today (October
21st), a Via Campesina member, Valmir Motta, 32 years old, father of 3
children, was executed with two shots on his chest. Other six rural
workers are severely wounded and a gunmen was possibly killed.

The wounded: Gentil Couto Viera, Jonas Gomes de Queiroz, Domingos
Barretos, Izabel Nascimento de Souza e Hudson Cardin, were taken to
hospital in the region. Izabel (a woman) is in coma and on death risk.

The Syngenta’s field trial was occupied this morning (21/10) for about
150 (one hundred and fifty) peasants from Via Campesina. The field trial
was occupied by peasant families in March 2006, to denounce to public
authorities and civil society the illegal reproduction by Syngenta of
GMO soy and maize seeds on the area. The occupation turned the
Syngenta’s crimes known worlwide. After 16 (sixteen) months of
resistance, on July 18th of this year, the 70 (seventy) families left
the area, moving to a provisional settlement “Olga Benário”, also at Santa Tereza do Oeste municipality.

Today, during the re-occupation of the area, the rural workers lighted
fireworks and the security men that were at the company’s field left the
place. Around 13:30 a micro-bus sttoped in front of the main entrance
and a militia of about 40 gunmen heavily armed got off the bus shooting
towards the peasants. The gunmen broke the front porch, executed Valmir
Motta with two shots on his chest, shot other 5 peasants and beated on
Isabel do Nascimento de Souza, who is at the hospital, severly wounded.

Syngenta has been hiring security services that act in irregular way on
that region, articulated by the Rural Society of the West Region
(Sociedade Rural da Região Oeste, SRO) and the Movement of Rural
Producers ( Movimento dos Produtores Rurais, MPR). One of the directors
of the security services company named “NF” was arrested and the owner
scaped during a Federal Police operation earlier this month, when there
were aprehended ammunition and illegal guns.

There is evidence showing that the company is hired as a façade and when
is time to the operations, they hire illegaly more security men, forming
an armed militia that works doing violent evictions and attacks to
landless peasant camps on that region. On last Thursday (18), a denounce
on the armed militia’s actions related to the SRO/MPR and to Syngenta on
the West region was re-enforced during a public hearing, coordinated by
the Human Rights and Minorities Comission of the Federal House of
Deputies, held at Curitiba city.

Via Campesina demands to the Judiciary power to investigate the attack
against rural workers of the camp, that, toghether with families at the
Olga Benário settlement still struggling to turn the field trial into a
Center for Agroecology and multiplication of criolla seeds to family
farm and land reform.

The residents at the Olga Benário settlement, which borders with
Syngenta’s field trial, are also against GMO experiments in that area as
it will contaminate their production of criolla seeds and will cause damages to their food, health and environment.

Via Campesina

Information to the press

55 (41) 3324.7000 and 55(41)84119794 – with Solange

comunicacaopr@mst.org.br