The remains of a British journalist have been found in the Brazilian Amazon, the police inform: NPR


Federal police arrive with recovered human remains believed to be by indigenous expert Bruno Pereira from Brazil and freelance reporter Dom Phillips from the UK, to the federal police hangar in Brasília, Brazil on Thursday.

Eraldo Peres / AP


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Federal police arrive with recovered human remains believed to be by indigenous expert Bruno Pereira from Brazil and freelance reporter Dom Phillips from the UK, to the federal police hangar in Brasília, Brazil on Thursday.

Eraldo Peres / AP

Federal police said Friday that human remains found deep in the Brazilian Amazon have been identified as belonging to British journalist Dom Phillips, who was missing almost two weeks ago along with a Brazilian indigenous expert.

Additional remains found at the site near the town of Atalaia do Norte have not yet been identified, but are expected to belong to indigenous expert Bruno Pereira (41). The couple was last seen on June 5 on their boat on the Itaquai River, near the entrance to the indigenous territory of the Javari Valley, which borders Peru and Colombia.

“The confirmation (of Phillips’ remains) was made based on dental examinations and anthropological forensics,” the federal police said in a statement. “Work is underway for a complete identification of the remains, so that we can determine the cause of death, and also the dynamics of the crime and concealment of the bodies.”

The remains were found on Wednesday after the fisherman Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira (41), nicknamed Pelado, confessed that he killed Phillips (57) and Pereira (41) and led the police to the place where the remains were found. He told officers he used a firearm to commit the crime.

Police also arrested Pelado’s brother, fisherman Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41.

The area where Phillips and Pereira were missing has seen violent conflicts between fishermen, poachers and government agents.

Federal police said others may have been involved in the crime, but that organized crime groups did not appear to be involved in the killings.

UNIVAJA, the local indigenous association that Pereira worked for, criticized this conclusion. It was stated in a statement that the investigation had not assessed the existence of a criminal organization that finances illegal fishing and poaching in the Javari Valley indigenous area.

“That was the reason why Bruno Pereira became one of the main targets of this criminal group, as well as other UNIVAJA members who received death threats,” the statement said.


Recovered human remains have been seen in a police vehicle after being found during a search for indigenous expert Bruno Pereira from Brazil and freelance reporter Dom Phillips from the UK, in Atalaia do Norte, the state of Amazonas, Brazil on Wednesday.

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Recovered human remains have been seen in a police vehicle after being found during a search for indigenous expert Bruno Pereira from Brazil and freelance reporter Dom Phillips from the UK, in Atalaia do Norte, the state of Amazonas, Brazil on Wednesday.

Edmar Barros / AP

President Jair Bolsonaro, a frequent critic of journalists and indigenous experts, has been criticized for not involving the government quickly enough. Earlier, he criticized Phillips in an interview, saying without proof that the locals in the area where he was missing did not like him, and that he should have been more careful in the region.

His main opponent in the October election, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said in a statement that the killings “are directly related to the abolition of public guidelines for the protection of indigenous peoples.” It is also related to the current administration’s stimulus to violence. , “said da Silva, who leads the polls.

The work of finding the couple was started by indigenous peoples in the region.

Indigenous people who were with Pereira and Phillips have said that Pelado swung a rifle at them the day before the couple disappeared.

Official search teams concentrated their efforts around a place in the Itaquai River where a tarpaulin from the boat used by the missing men was found. Authorities began scrubbing the area and discovered a backpack, laptop and other personal belongings submerged under water on Sunday.

Authorities have said that a main line of police investigation into the disappearances has pointed to an international network that pays poor fishermen to fish illegally in the Javari Valley reserve, which is Brazil’s second largest indigenous area.

Pereira, who previously headed the local bureau of the Federal Indigenous Bureau, known as FUNAI, participated in several operations against illegal fishing. In such operations, the fishing gear is usually seized or destroyed, while the fishermen are fined and held in short-term detention. Only indigenous peoples can legally fish in their territories.

While some police, the mayor and others in the region link the couple’s disappearances to the “fishing mafia”, federal police have not ruled out other lines of investigation, such as drug smuggling.