According to Brazilian police, the human body found deep in the Amazon was identified as belonging to a Brazilian indigenous expert and a missing British journalist, Dom Phillips, almost two weeks ago.
Additional bodies found near the city of Atalaia de Norte have not yet been identified, but are expected to be owned by indigenous expert Bruno Pereira (41).
The man was last seen on June 5 on a boat on the Itacai River near the entrance to the indigenous territory of the Javanese Valley, which borders Peru and Colombia.
“The confirmation (of Phillips’s body) was based on dental examinations and anthropological forensics,” federal police said in a statement.
“Work is underway to fully identify the body, allowing us to identify the cause of death, the dynamics of the crime, and the concealment of the body.”
The body was found on Wednesday. Fisherman Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira (41), called Perado, confessed to killing Phillips (57) and Pereira (41) and took police to the scene.
He told officers that he used firearms to commit the crime.
Police also arrested Perado’s brother, fisherman Oseny da Costa de Oliveira, 41.
In the area where Mr. Phillips and Mr. Pereira went missing, there is a fierce conflict between fishermen, poachers and government agencies.
Federal police said organized crime groups did not appear to be involved in the murder, although others may have participated in the crime.
UNIVAJA, the local indigenous peoples’ association where Pereira worked, criticized the conclusion.
In a statement, the investigation stated that the investigation did not take into account the existence of criminal organizations funding illegal fishing and poaching in the indigenous areas of the Javali Valley.
“That’s why Bruno Pereira, like other UNIVAJA members threatened with murder, has become one of the main targets of this criminal group,” the statement said.
President Jair Bolsonaro, who frequently criticizes journalists and indigenous experts, has garnered criticism that the government was not involved fast enough.
Earlier, he criticized Mr. Phillips in an interview, saying that the locals in the area where he went missing didn’t like him and he should have paid more attention in the area.
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his main enemy in the October elections, said in a statement that the killings were “directly related to the dismantling of public policy to protect indigenous peoples.” rice field.
“It also has to do with the current administration’s stimulus to violence,” said poll leader Da Silva.
Efforts to find men were initiated by the indigenous peoples of the area.
The indigenous people who were with Mr. Pereira and Mr. Phillips said Perado had swung a rifle at them the day before they disappeared.
Official search teams focused on spots on the Itacai River where tarpaulins from boats used by missing men were found.
Authorities began scrutinizing the area and found backpacks, laptops, and other personal belongings submerged on Sunday.
Authorities point out that a major line of police investigation into disappearances points to an international network that pays poor fishermen to illegally fish in the Jabari Valley Reserve, Brazil’s second-largest indigenous territory. Stated.
Pereira, who previously headed the local bureau of the Federal Indigenous Peoples Agency known as FUNAI, participated in several operations against illegal fishing.
In such operations, as a rule, fishing gear is seized or destroyed, fishermen are fined and temporarily detained. Only indigenous people can legally fish on their territory.
Some police, mayors, and others in the area have linked the disappearance of men to the “fish mafia,” but federal police have not ruled out other investigations, such as drug trafficking.
The incident placed a global magnifying glass on violence in the Amazon.
Earlier on Friday, US State Department spokesman Edward Price said Phillips and Pereira were “killed to help protect the rainforest and its indigenous people.”
“We seek accountability and justice. We must collectively strengthen our efforts to protect environmentalists and journalists,” he said.
Protests for justice by Phillips and Pereira will take place over the weekend in several cities in Brazil.