The killers came from the forest, the very same forest Raimundo Santos Rodrigues so loved.
The environmentalist had spent years defending one of the last pristine swathes of the eastern Amazon rain forest from loggers, miners and farmers. But his activism had earned him enemies in Brazil’s northern state of Maranhão.
And on Tuesday afternoon, those enemies pounced.
Santos Rodrigues and his wife were riding their motorbike from the market back to the Biological Reserve of Gurupi when two men suddenly emerged from the treeline, witnesses told local media. As the couple crossed a bridge, the gunmen opened fire, hitting both the environmentalist and his wife.
To ensure their objective, the assassins ran up to Santos Rodrigues and stabbed the injured man to death. His wife, Maria da Conceição Chaves Lima, was rushed to the hospital and is expected to live.
Santos Rodrigues had been a “marked” man because of his environmentalism, said a man who spoke to G1 anonymously for fear of also being targeted.