Brazilian prosecutors are investigating reports of illegal gold miners killing at least 10 members of a reclusive, "uncontacted" Amazonian tribe.
Brazil's National Indian Foundation asked prosecutors to look into the matter after the miners were overheard boasting about the massacre at a bar near the border with Colombia, The New York Times reports.
“They even bragged about cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the river," Leila Silvia Burger Sotto-Maior, Funai’s coordinator for uncontacted and recently contacted tribes told the newspaper.
Sotto-Maior said the killings reportedly happened last month in the Javari Valley near the border with Peru.
Brazil's National Indian Foundation said in a statement that some of the miners have been detained for questioning, but they have not confirmed any deaths.
The prosecutor in charge of the case told The Times that because tribes like this one are uncontacted, even Funai only has sporadic information about them.
Survival International says the area is home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth, adding that isolated groups are particularly vulnerable to land conflicts.
“If these reports are confirmed, [Brazilian] President Temer and his government bear a heavy responsibility for this genocidal attack," Survival International's director, Stephen Corry, said in a press release.
Corry added that by slashing funding for the organization that protects these tribes, the government "left dozens of uncontacted tribes defenseless against thousands of invaders – goldminers, ranchers and loggers – who are desperate to steal and ransack their lands."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.