Hopes of finding British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira are waning.
Police have arrested a second suspect in the case of a British journalist and an indigenous expert missing in the heart of the Amazon. The man will be questioned and taken to a hearing in Atalaia do Norte, in the far west of Brazil, Brazilian news portal “G1” reported on Tuesday night (local time), citing the Federal Police.
Thus, the detainee was a fisherman, brother of the only suspect arrested so far. Nine people have been questioned so far, including the wife of the first person arrested.
Bishop Phillips and Bruno Pereira did not arrive by boat in the town of Atalaia do Norte on June 5 as planned, according to a regional indigenous organization. Pereira had already reported to the police that he had been threatened several times. He had registered illegal activities in Vale do Javari for the authorities.
Regional media speculated that Phillips and Pereira may have been the victims of an ambush on behalf of drug traffickers. Another line of investigation looks at illegal fish farming and hunting. Concrete clues as to what exactly happened have yet to be released.
Personal items found
According to the media, personal belongings of the two were found a good week after the disappearance. According to the information, the boat of a suspect already arrested was discovered near the place on the border with Peru and Colombia. There have been conflicting reports that the bodies of the missing persons have been found. The search in the Javari Valley continued.
The result of the examination of the “apparently human organic material” found near the port of Atalaia do Norte and the blood on the seized boat was initially opened. It should be published this week, the news agency reported, citing police.
was threatened several times
Phillips and Pereira did not arrive by boat on June 5 as planned in the town of Atalaia do Norte, in the far west of Brazil, according to a regional indigenous organization. Pereira had already reported to the police that he had been threatened several times. As a result, local media speculates that Phillips and Pereira may have been the victims of an ambush on behalf of drug dealers. According to the newspaper “Folha de S. Paulo”, another line of investigation investigates illegal fish farming and hunting. Concrete clues as to what exactly happened to them have yet to be released.
Phillips moved to Brazil 15 years ago and worked for the Guardian, among others. With Pereira, who also worked for the indigenous authorities in the region, the 57-year-old man researched a book in Vale do Javari about the protection of the Amazon region, the strong economic interests in its exploitation and different models of development. Those who want to protect and inform about the Amazon region like Phillips and Pereira live dangerously in many ways.
“Nor will find bodies”
A photographer who was in Vale do Javari for a project for the Museu do Índio in Rio de Janeiro with Unesco 2019 said: “I don’t think they will find any more bodies. The region there is very complicated.”
Vale do Javari is located more than 1,000 kilometers from the Amazon metropolis of Manaus and is considered one of the last refuges for indigenous people. Many indigenous people live in isolation in the area, which is larger than Austria. Some of them have already had contact with the non-indigenous world. However, due to negative experiences, they decided to withdraw. Bordering Peru and Colombia, the Javari Valley is also on an international drug route.
Demonstration in Brasilia
Weapons and people are also smuggled in here, trees are illegally cut down and gold is mined, hunted and fished. “All this has taken on gigantic proportions with the government’s systematic weakening of indigenous and environmental authorities and the federal police,” said a Brazilian television report. He explored why the Javari Valley has become one of the most dangerous areas in the Amazon. Funai officials demonstrated in Brasília on Tuesday demanding more protection for those who work in indigenous areas.
According to the non-governmental organization Global Witness, Brazil was the fourth most dangerous country for environmentalists in 2020, with 20 conservationists and environmental activists killed. Among the victims in recent years were US environmentalist Dorothy Stang and activist Paulo Paulino Guajajara, known as the “guardian of the forest”. In the Amazon region, the law of the strongest is often applied.