Updated 11. June 2022, 12:02
Missing British journalist Dom Phillips and his Brazilian comrade Bruno Pereira may be dead: on Thursday, investigators found blood stains on the arrested suspect’s boat. Body parts also appeared.
British journalist Dom Phillips and his companion Bruno Pereira have been disappearing in the Amazon for days.
Twitter / Dom Phillips
Phillips, 57, who regularly writes for the UK Guardian as a freelance journalist, and Pereira, an expert on indigenous peoples, were researching a book on violence against indigenous peoples in the Javari Valley near the Peruvian border.
pictures imago / ZUMA cable
There are miners, poachers and drug gangs in the region.
pictures imago / ZUMA cable
Concerns are mounting about British journalist Dom Phillips, who has disappeared in Brazil, and his Brazilian companion Bruno Pereira: during Friday’s search for two missing persons in the Amazon rainforest, investigators investigated possible human remains and the place where something apparently was buried, according to reports by the fire brigade and the police. On Thursday, investigators already found traces of blood on the arrested suspect’s boat.
Phillips, 57, who regularly writes for the UK Guardian as a freelance journalist, and Pereira, an expert on indigenous peoples, were researching a book on violence against indigenous peoples in the Javari Valley near the Peruvian border. Two men have been missing since Sunday. There are miners, poachers and drug gangs in the region. According to indigenous organizations, the men were previously intimidated.
“Looks like someone has buried something there”
Firefighter Geonivan Maciel told reporters on Friday that investigators are now following a new lead in the case: they are investigating a suspect ‘dug-out’ site in the village of Cachoeira on the banks of the Itaquai River, where the men were last seen. “It looks like someone has been digging or burying something in this place,” Maciel said. So far, there is no conclusive evidence, “but we’ll see if there’s anything we can use to find out about the two missing men.”
Brazilian federal police later announced that investigators found “allegedly human organic material” during a search. Initially, it was unclear whether it was found in the place described by Maciel. According to police, investigators took samples from Phillips and Pereira’s apartments for DNA comparison.
Traces of blood found in the boat
On Wednesday, investigators arrested a 41-year-old suspect. According to the police, drugs and assault rifle cartridges were found with him during random checks. Witnesses said they saw a man chasing Phillips and Pereira’s boat. The bloodstains were later found in the man’s boat and are currently being investigated at a forensics lab in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state.
Pereira, who works for the Brazilian governmental agency for indigenous affairs (Funai), has received repeated threats from illegal lumberjacks and miners trying to invade the lands of isolated indigenous groups. Violence has increased in the region in recent years due to the presence of illegal miners, hunters and fishermen.
(afp / fos)