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Nine people killed in fire at landless labor movement camp in Brazil

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SAO PAULO: Nine people were killed and eight injured in a fire Saturday night at a camp belonging to the landless labor movement MST in Brazil’s northern state of Pará, the movement said on Sunday (Dec 10).

According to MST, the incident was caused by a short circuit in the electrical network during the installation of Internet wiring in a rural farmers’ camp located in the town of Paraupébas.

Community leaders told a news conference that the short circuit occurred around 8 p.m. local time, when an antenna touched the high-voltage network, causing electrical wires and some huts in the camp to catch fire.

Of the nine dead, six were residents of the camp and three were employees of an internet company.

Eight other people were injured and taken to hospital, seven of them have already been released, and one is still hospitalized with second-degree burns, but is not in danger of death.

According to MST, the local fire brigade later brought the fire under control.

MST fights for land distribution in Brazil, sometimes seizing areas it says are producing nothing and then demanding the government expropriate them.

The camp is close to, but, according to the movement, does not occupy, 60,000 hectares (150,000 acres) of farmland in the area, which they argue is the product of a land grab.

Camp members said at a Sunday press conference that they were already receiving government assistance such as water and food distribution and funeral assistance.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ordered his Minister of Agricultural Development, Paulo Teixeira, and the head of the land rights agency Incra, César Aldrighi, to travel to the city “to follow the case closely and extend all the support of the federal government to the families.” Asked for.” victims of this tragedy,” the government said in a statement.



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