Amazon: A suspect says he buried the bodies of the two missing men

Amazon: A suspect says he buried the bodies of the two missing men

On June 15, 2022, in Atalaia do Norte in the Amazon, Brazilian police took a suspect to the river where expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips disappeared ten days earlier. On June 15, 2022, in Atalaia do Norte in the Amazon, Brazilian police took a suspect to the river where expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips disappeared ten days earlier. EDMAR BARROS/PA

This is similar to the finding of the intriguing disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon ten days later. A suspect, arrested after the two men’s disappearance, admitted to burying their bodies and showed authorities their whereabouts.

“Last night we received the confessions of the first of the two arrested suspects (…), who gave a detailed account of how the crime was committed and told us where the bodies were buried,” it said on Wednesday 15 June , in a conference statement, the chief of the federal police of the state of Amazonas, Eduardo Alexandre Fontes. The latter added that the suspect, a 41-year-old fisherman named Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, admitted taking part in the “crime” without specifying his role. He had been taken to the search site by the police to show them the exact location.

“Excavations have been carried out at the site, excavations are continuing, but human remains have already been found,” he said. “Once we have been able to verify, thanks to the expertise, that these are indeed the remains of the bodies of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, they will be returned to the families.”

Also read: Brazil: The arduous search for disappeared people from Amazonia

In a press release, the journalist’s Brazilian wife expressly thanked “all the teams that carried out the research, especially the indigenous volunteers”, whose absence during the press conference was criticized by many observers. “Even though we’re still awaiting the final confirmations, this tragic result puts an end to the fear of not knowing where Dom and Bruno have been. Now we can take them home and bid them a loving farewell,” she said. Today we too begin our fight for justice (…) We will only have peace if the necessary measures are taken to ensure that such tragedies do not happen again. »

Two suspects arrested

Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, nicknamed “Pelado” (“naked” in French), was arrested on June 7. Witnesses said they saw him passing at high speed on board a boat going in the same direction as Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira’s boat before they disappeared. The second suspect, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, known as “Dos Santos,” was arrested on Tuesday and is “suspected of involvement in the case,” according to federal police.

President Jair Bolsonaro had already mentioned “entrails floating in the water” found during the search on Monday, information not confirmed by the police. Authorities announced on Sunday that they had found the personal effects of the two missing persons.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Research launched to find an English journalist and a Brazilian anthropologist who have disappeared in the Amazon

The British journalist and the Brazilian expert were last seen on June 5 during an expedition to the Javari Valley.

This region near the border with Peru and Colombia is considered to be very dangerous, there is a lot of drug trafficking, fishing and illegal gold panning. It has in recent years become a strategic axis for gangs of drug traffickers who transport cocaine or cannabis produced in countries neighboring Brazil down the river.

“Badly seen” in the Amazon

Author of dozens of accounts on the Amazon, Dom Phillips, 57, moved to Brazil fifteen years ago and is married to a Brazilian. He had traveled to the area again as part of his research for a book on environmental protection.

Bruno Pereira, 41, a recognized expert and defender of indigenous peoples’ rights, worked for many years at Brazil’s government agency for indigenous affairs (Funai). In particular, he oversaw the FUNAI office in Atalaia do Norte, the location where the two men were scheduled to boat after their disappearance, and a program to protect isolated indigenous groups in the Javari Valley. Father-of-three Bruno Pereira has repeatedly said he was the target of threats from loggers, miners and illegal fishermen trying to invade protected lands.

A demonstration in support of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira in Manaus, Brazil, on June 15, 2022. A demonstration in support of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira in Manaus, Brazil June 15, 2022. STRINGER/ REUTERS

Her disappearance has sparked outrage around the world, with reactions from high-profile politicians and celebrities including members of Irish rock band U2.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Brazil, the deforestation of the Amazon is the result of Jair Bolsonaro’s policies

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who favors mining and management of indigenous reserves in the Amazon, has been heavily criticized for describing the two men’s expedition as an “unsavory adventure”. On Wednesday, he claimed Dom Phillips was “frowned upon” in the Amazon for writing “many reports against gold miners and about the environment.”

“In this very remote area, a lot of people didn’t like him. He should have doubled his precautions (…) There are pirates on the river over there, it’s unwise to survey the place unarmed,” he added during an interview with journalist Leda Nagle’s YouTube channel.

Also read: Amazonia: two disappeared and a catastrophe

The world with AFP