Brazilian police said, on Sunday, that they had found the personal belongings of British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Araujo Pereira in the Itaqui River, and there was no news of this since Sunday, June 5. Phillips is 57 years old, has lived in Brazil for 15 years and collaborates with guardian: He disappeared in a remote area in the western part of the Amazon rainforest while searching for a book for him. With him was Pereira, a 41-year-old activist in the protection of indigenous peoples. It is suspected that the two were killed.
Among the items found and examined by the Brazilian Federal Police were Phillips shoes and a backpack, an identity document and some Pereira’s clothes. The objects were found along the river where the searches were focused, and where a used oilcloth was found in the boat the two were traveling on on Saturday. The police are also analyzing some traces of blood taken from a boat of a fisherman who was arrested and questioned on suspicion of being linked to the disappearance. The hunter, Amarildo da Costa, was also charged with illegal possession of ammunition. For now, he’s the only suspect.
Phillips was last seen near the Javari Valley, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, on the border with Peru, where he was doing some research among indigenous people to write a book about the Amazon rainforest and the problems associated with logging. He was supposed to arrive with Pereira at the city of Atalaia do Norte along the Itaqui River, but he never arrived.
According to Brazilian investigators, it is possible that the disappearance of Phillips and Pereira is related to the work that Phillips did, and that there are local criminal groups involved running poaching and drug smuggling operations on the border between Brazil and Peru.
Some members of the Univaja Touring Organization who went out on a boat with them on Saturday 4 June said they came across a boat of fishermen who threatened them with weapons to force them back. Univaja said that Phillips had already had disagreements with local criminals in the past due to his research work on illegal activities in the area; He added that three weeks before Pereira’s disappearance, he had received death threats.
– Read also: The British journalist who disappeared in Brazil