Second man arrested following disappearance of British journalist in the Amazon rainforest

Source: : 2022-06-15 02:11:00 :

A second man has been arrested following the disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips in the Amazon rainforest.

Mr Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira went missing more than a week ago on a remote stretch of the Itaquai River.

Police say the man detained – Oseney da Costa de Oliveira – is the brother of the first man who was arrested.

Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, who is nicknamed Pelado, remains in custody as the main suspect in the case.

Describing the arrest of the latest suspect, police investigator Alex Perez said: “He did not resist arrest on suspicion of homicide based on witness accounts that placed the two suspects at the supposed scene of the crime.”

Ammunition and an oar have also been seized – but detectives haven’t confirmed why these items have been confiscated, where they were found, or who they belong to.

Mr Phillips, 57, and Mr Pereira, 41, were last seen on 5 June near the entrance to Brazil’s Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia.

The da Costa de Oliveira brothers, both 41-year-old fishermen, are being held at the police station in Atalaia do Norte, which is the nearest town.

Pelado pulled a rifle on Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira the day before they disappeared, according to indigenous people who were with them.

But he denies doing anything wrong and claims military police tortured him to get a confession, his family has said.

Meanwhile, the search for Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira appears to be nearing its end, as the area being looked at gets smaller.

Demonstrators hold placards and roses as they protest following the disappearance, in the Amazon, of journalist Dom Phillips and campaigner Bruno Araujo Pereira, outside the Brazilian Embassy in London, Britain, June 9, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Dom Phillips
Dom Phillips

‘We understand we are heading toward the end’

Eliesio Marubo, a lawyer who has been helping to look for the men, said the discovery of evidence had helped to narrow the search.

“We understand that we are heading toward the end,” he said.

Police found a backpack, laptop and other personal items in a river on Sunday and there were reports that the men’s bodies had also been found, although officers denied this on Monday.

Federal police seized ammunition and an oar on Tuesday but gave no further details about these items.

Read more:
Officials link disappearance of British journalist in Brazil to ‘fish mafia’

Search teams find ‘apparently human’ remains where British journalist was last seen

The area where Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira went missing has seen violent conflicts between fishermen, poachers and the government.

Mr Pereira previously led the local bureau of the government’s indigenous agency, known as FUNAI, and has been involved in several operations against illegal fishing.

There has also been some violence as gangs battle for control of waterways to ship cocaine.

The Javari Valley has seven known indigenous groups – some only recently contacted – and at least 11 uncontacted groups, giving it the largest concentration of isolated tribes in the world.

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