July 28 (UPI) -- Armed gold miners in Brazil attacked an indigenous village in the Amazon this week, killing the group's leader and forcing members of the community to flee their homes, police said.
The attack happened Wednesday in the northern Brazilian village of Mariry. The villagers fled to the nearby village of Aramirã in Amapá state.
Village members said they found the body of their leader, Emyra Waiãpi, on Wednesday.
"The garimpeiros invaded the indigenous village and are there until today. They are heavily armed, they have machine guns. That is why we asking for help from the federal police," Kureni Waiãpi, a member of the tribe, told The Guardian. "If nothing is done they will start to fight."
A community leader said villagers may choose to return to the village, potentially reigniting violence.
The tension comes after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro reopened parts of the Amazon to mining, saying the indigenous people have access to too much land given their population.
Opponents say that loosening regulations puts the indigenous people at risk and could lead to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.