RIO DE JANEIRO – Three members of a group demanding land reform were found shot to death inside an abandoned vehicle in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, Brazilian police said.
The 5-year-old grandson of one of the victims apparently witnessed the killings and is now under police protection.
The triple-murder took place in Miraponga, site of several encampments of landless peasants who are hoping to benefit from agrarian reform.
Until now, however, the area has not been known for violent disputes over land.
Police suspect the killings are linked to a heated argument that took place last Monday among leaders of the group to which the victims belonged, the Landless Liberation Movement, or MLST, a dissident faction of the long-established MST organization.
The dead, two men and a woman, were coordinators of an MLST camp.
Representing thousands of landless peasants, the MST and MLST sometimes engage in land invasions to press their demands for agrarian reform.
The child who survived the attack told police the killings were carried out by two men traveling in another vehicle. EFE