“Human remains” were found in searches for the British journalist, Dom PhillipsandBrazilian anthropologist, Bruno Araújowho disappeared eleven days ago in the western Amazon: this was confirmed by the Brazilian Minister of Justice, Anderson Torres, after yesterday the brothers Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, known as ‘Dos Santos’, and Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, known as ‘Pelado’, they confessed to killing them and making their bodies disappear.
The corpses, which have meanwhile been collected by federal police officers, had been hiding from the alleged killers in an area of the jungle difficult to access.
Phillips and Pereira had been missing since June 5, when they were last seen in the municipality of Sao Rafael, from where they left by boat for Atalaia do Norte, in the state of Amazonas. For the police commissioner, Eduardo Fontes, it was a “heinous crime“.
The double murder took place in the Vale do Javarí, near the border with Peru and Colombia, where it is located a reserve of indigenous people harassed by gold miners, drug traffickers and illegal fishermen. Phillips, 57, a contributor to The Guadian newspaper, and Araújo, 41, a former official of the National Indian Foundation (Funai), were conducting research on the situation of some tribes and received threats to their work.
The posters for the search for the two missing professionals
Investigators specified that one of the lines of investigation in progress tries to reveal if there was anyone who financed the crime. “Peru is the second largest cocaine producer in the world and it is in this region of the forest that Farc (Colombian guerrilla) dissidents take refuge”, underlined Fontes.
Phillips’ wife, Alessandra Sampaio, urged swift investigations into the case while representatives of the indigenous people denounce the lack of security in the forest. “Even if we await the final confirmations, this tragic outcome puts an end to the anguish of not knowing where Dom and Bruno are: now we can take them home and bid them goodbye with love,” said the woman.
“The increase in conflicts in indigenous lands is mainly caused by illegal extractors, which have increased in recent years, creating a scenario of environmental violence and devastation,” said indigenous MP, Joenia Wapichana, of the environmental party Rede Sustainability.
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