The Brazilian Army’s (EB) Military Command of the Amazon (CMA) intensified patrols in the Javari Valley, in the Amazon region that borders Peru, as part of Operation Jacuixito, which goal was to strengthen EB’s presence in the region to prevent and combat transborder and environmental crimes, such as mining, drug and arms trafficking, and timber extraction.
Some 500 people, mostly CMA service members, mainly from the 16th Jungle Infantry Brigade, 30 boats, and several all-terrain vehicles, among other assets, participated in the two-month operation that ended in late April. Agents from the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (FUNAI), the Brazilian Institute of Environment, and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and the Special Indigenous Health District (DSEI) of the Javari Valley also participated in Jacuixito.
“Three Ferryboats, three helicopters from the Army’s 4th Aviation Battalion, the HM-1 Pantera, HM-2 Blackhawk, and HM-4 Jaguar were employed, as well as several small boats,” the CMA told Diálogo in a statement. Operation Jacuixito required troops to prepare physically for the terrain and to train in specific rules of engagement for actions on indigenous lands.
Fight against illegal mining
As part of Operation Jacuixito, soldiers from the 16th Jungle Infantry Brigade destroyed five illegal mining rafts in the Javari Valley indigenous land. Troops located the illegal vessels during a river patrol on the Jandiatuba River and the Boa Vista Igarapé.
According to information from EB’s blog Agência Verde Oliva, each raft destroyed was valued at some $121,000 and was capable of extracting about 2.5 kilograms of gold per month, yielding more than $161,000 on the illegal market. The exhaustive patrols carried out during Operation Jacuixito caused a loss to illegal mining of about $1,4 million in a single month.
According to CMA information, in addition to reconnaissance missions, patrols, and checkpoints on waterways and land, authorities carried out civic and social actions in the municipalities of Benjamin Constant, Atalaia do Norte, and in the indigenous village of Massapê. “A total of 827 consultations and 1,706 procedures were performed, including immunization and laboratory tests, which benefitted the Mayuruna, Marubo, Matis, and Kanamari indigenous ethnic groups in the Massapê village, and in the Javari Valley indigenous land,” Agência Verde Oliva indicated.
“Doctors from various specialties, such as pediatrics, gynecology, mastology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, tropical dermatology, and general medicine participated,” the EB agency added.
EB’s presence in the Javari Valley, during Operation Jacuixito led to a significant reduction in cross-border and environmental crime rates, according to a report published on the EB’s website. “The Amazon Military Command plans to invest even more in monitoring and intelligence technologies, especially in Special Border Platoons,” the report concluded.