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Nika Knight – Environmental Official Shot Dead in Brazil as Attacks on Land Defenders Rise in Latin America

An environmental official well-known for his aggressive enforcement of deforestation laws in his city in the Brazilian Amazon was gunned down in front of his family late Thursday, city officials reported Friday.

Two men shot the official, Luiz Araujo, seven times as he drove up to his home, local policetold the Associated Press.

“[T]wo men fled on a motorcycle without taking anything, leading to speculation that they were paid assassins,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

AP notes that Araujo, environmental secretary for the small northern city of Altamara, had reportedly received death threats before.

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