Missing Persons Case in the Amazon: Second Arrest

Brazil
Missing Persons Case in the Amazon: Second Arrest

arrest

A federal police officer escorts a suspect in the area where British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira disappeared. Photo: Edmar Barros/AP/dpa

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Where are Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira? The search for the British journalist and the indigenous expert who were traveling in the Amazon region continues. Another person was arrested.

Police have arrested a second suspect in the case of a British journalist missing in the Amazon and an indigenous expert.

The man will be interrogated and taken to a hearing in Atalaia do Norte in the far west of Brazil, the Brazilian news portal “G1” reported, citing the federal police.

Accordingly, the arrested person was a fisherman, the brother of the only suspect arrested until then. Nine people have been questioned so far, including the wife of the first person arrested.

Dom 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 aboriginal organization. Pereira had previously reported to the police that he had been threatened several times. He had recorded illegal activities in the Vale do Javari for the authorities.

Regional media speculated Phillips and Pereira may have been the victims of an ambush on behalf of drug dealers. Another line of investigation looks at illegal fish farming and hunting. Concrete clues as to what exactly happened have not yet been released.

According to the media, personal belongings of the two men were found a good week after their disappearance. There have been conflicting reports that the bodies of the missing people have been found. The search in the Vale do Javari continued.

Covering an area larger than that of Austria, the Javari Valley is one of the largest indigenous areas in Brazil. Many indigenous people live in isolation there. The border area with Peru and Colombia is also particularly conflict-ridden and dangerous due to illegal prospecting for gold, deforestation, fishing and hunting as well as drug smuggling.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday, according to the media, that Phillips was “badly viewed in the region” for reporting against illegal prospectors and that he should have “taken more care of himself”. The reporter and the indigenous expert “decided to go alone and without safety precautions into a completely inhospitable area”. Bolsonaro added: “We don’t know if anyone saw him and followed him, there are pirates in the river, there’s everything you can imagine there.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured Wednesday at the weekly Question Time in London’s House of Commons that it was working with the Brazilian authorities and providing them with any assistance they needed.

dpa

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