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Montevideo, August 17th 2022 - 19:31 UTC

 

 

UK journalist and guide in Amazonia said to have been found dead – Police denies it

Monday, June 13th 2022 - 20:55 UTC
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Bodies allegedly found and then said to never have existed add to the mystery of the two men's disappearance Bodies allegedly found and then said to never have existed add to the mystery of the two men's disappearance

Despite versions from family members that two bodies had been found belonging to missing British reporter Dom Phillips and indgenist expert Bruno Araújo Pereira, Brazilian Federal Police in the state of Amazonas deny any such discoveries.

Alessandra Sampaio, wife of missing British reporter Dom Phillips, Monday morning said her husband's body as well as that of Araújo Pereira had been found lifeless a week after they ventured into deep Amazonia to gather information for a book, reporter André Trigueiro announced.

He said he had contacted Sampaio, who told him the police still needed to examine the bodies to establish their identities, while Phillips' brother-in-law, Paul Sherwood, said UK Ambassador to Brazil Francis Vijay had confirmed the finding of two bodies and the circumstances in which they were at the time of the discovery.

According to the Coordination of the Indigenous Organization UNIVAJA, Pereira and Philips were on their way to the Indigenous Surveillance team near Lago do Jaburu (near the FUNAI Surveillance Base on the Ituí river), so that the journalist could visit the place and do some interviews with the indigenous people. The two arrived at their destination (Jaburu Lake) on June 3, 2022, at 7:25 pm. On June 5, they returned early in the morning to the city of Atalaia do Norte, but they stopped at the São Rafael community.

Federal Police confirmed Sunday evening that a backpack found at the site of their disappearance belonged to Phillips. Other belongings were also found.

Judge Jacinta Silva dos Santos Thursday ordered the arrest of Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, known as Pelado, a 41-year-old suspect believed to have been involved in the case. A witness had reported having seen Pelado carrying a rifle and making a belt of ammunition and cartridges shortly after Bruno and Dom left the São Rafael community heading to Atalaia do Norte, on Sunday morning (5), the day they both disappeared. The witness also said Pelado was a “very dangerous man” who had been promising to “settle scores ” with Pereira, according to Globo.

The witness also stressed that there was “no doubt” that Pelado and the other man who waited for him in a boat with the engine running had done “something bad.”

Meanwhile, opposition politicians and activists seized the opportunity to blame President Jair Bolsonaro for the fate of Phillips and Pereira, which “is the result of a genocidal and cruel policy of the Bolsonaro misgovernment, which encourages violence, forest destruction, illegal mining, and the extermination of native peoples,” according to Rede Sustentabilidade's Márcio Prado.

Actress Cecilia Danson recalled that “Jair Bolsonaro had already warned in all letters during the campaign that his government would be against indigenous and quilombolas. He dismantled FUNAI and gave the go-ahead for criminal gold miners to kill without fear of punishment. Today the bodies of Dom Philips and Bruno Araújo were found,” although no official confirmation has been released.

Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima insisted federal authorities were handling the case. “This operation is in charge of the Federal Police and any information will be given by the Federal Police”, said. Bolsonaro has already said that it will be “difficult” to find them alive, but some reports already quote Sampaio as confirming the news, despite assurances from the Federal Police that no identity had been or even that any bodies had been discovered. “The search goes on,” they said.

Police said they have collected genetic material from the missing duo to compare with the blood. In the meantime, Pelado is to remain in custody.

After criticism that the government had dragged its feet in the crucial first days of the case, Bolsonaro told the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles on Friday that the Brazilian armed forces were working “tirelessly” to find the two men.

 

Categories: Politics, Brazil, International.

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