Brazil: Journalist Phillips and expert Pereira killed by gunfire

Brazil: Journalist Phillips and expert Pereira killed by gunshot

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">British journalist Dom Phillips, center, a long-time contributor to The Guardian newspaper, and Mr. Pereira, 41, a recognized expert on indigenous peoples, were in the Amazon as part of of a book on the preservation of the environment.

Brazilian police on Saturday confirmed the death of indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, whose remains were found in a remote area of ​​the Amazon with those of British journalist Dom Phillips who accompanied him. She said the two men were killed by a “firearm”.

A suspect in the murders surrendered on Saturday morning, she also said, the third now arrested in this case.

Mr. Phillips, 57, a long-time contributor to The Guardian newspaper, and Mr. Pereira, 41, a recognized expert on indigenous peoples, were in the Amazon as part of a book on conservation environment.

They had been seen for the last time on June 5, when they took a boat to Atalaia do Norte (north-west), in the Javari Valley, an area known to be dangerous where multiple illegal drug trafficking takes place, fishing or gold panning.

On Friday, the Brazilian Federal Police (PF) had indicated that the first human remains discovered on the indication of a suspect were those of Dom Phillips, based on an odontological examination (dental, in particular) by a laboratory in Brasilia.

On Saturday, she announced that the remains of Bruno Pereira had also been found by investigators.

Mr. Pereira was hit by three shots, including one to the head, and Mr. Phillips by a bullet to the chest, she added.

The suspect who turned himself in on Saturday is Jeferson da Silva Lima, says Pelado da Dinha. According to the evidence and testimonies collected, this fisherman was at the scene of the crime and actively participated in the double homicide, said police commissioner Alex Perez Timóteo.

The remains of Dom Phillips had been found on Wednesday at the place indicated by the fisherman Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, known as Pelado, who had admitted the day before to having buried the bodies.

According to local media, police are looking for a fourth suspect, a report that has not been officially confirmed.

The police indicated that the elements available to them at this stage of the investigation suggest that the killers acted alone, without a sponsor, without a criminal organization behind the murders.

The Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (Univaja), whose members actively participated in the research, refuted the police version.

There are not just two killers, but an organized group that planned the crime down to the smallest detail, Univaja said in a statement.

L& #x27;Univaja claims to have sent the authorities a report in which it explained that Pelado was involved in illegal fishing activities.

This 41-year-old man had also been charged with x27;having committed gun attacks in 2018 and 2019 against a base of Funai, the Brazilian government agency for indigenous affairs, in that same city of Atalaia do Norte.< /p>

Univaja refers to a powerful criminal organization that tried at all costs to cover its tracks during the investigation into the double murder, recalling that Bruno Pereira, who worked at Funai for a long time, had already received death threats.

According to several experts, the illegal fishing of endangered species in the Javari Valley is, most often, subject to the power of drug traffickers who use the sale of fish to launder drug money.

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We demand the continuation and deepening of investigations, insisted Univaja.

The Javari Valley, the second indigenous reserve of Brazil in size, home to 26 indigenous peoples, is a hard-to-reach region in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, on the triple border between Brazil, Peru and Colombia, where the state has very little grip.

Many members of the security forces left the scene after the remains of the victims were discovered.

Indigenous people who took part in the search say they now fear for their lives. We will continue to live here, and the state will not provide us with any security, deplored to AFP Paulo Marubo, coordinator of Univaja, who said he also received threats.

The double murder of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira has sparked outrage around the world, with strong criticism of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, accused of promoting deforestation and encouraging the exploitation of resources in the Amazon since he came to power in 2019.

The United States urged Friday to that the responsibilities are established in the murder of the two men, assassinated for their support for the preservation of the rainforest and the indigenous populations.

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