Human remains were found during the search for British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian expert Bruno Pereira, who went missing in the Amazon a week ago, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday. “The search is ongoing. But all indications are that they were harmed, human guts were found floating on the river and brought to Brasilia to identify the DNA, “the head of state said in an interview with CBN radio.
“Given the time that has passed, already eight days, it will be very difficult to find them alive. I pray to God that this is the case, but the information we have makes us fear otherwise, ”he added. Members of Dom Phillips’ family said earlier in the morning that “two bodies had been found” but that identification was still pending.
At the same time, a lot of conflicting information was circulating around bodies that were found during the search.
“We are waiting for confirmation from the Federal Police as to whether or not this is Dom and Bruno. We remain anxious in the meantime, Dominique Davies, Dom Phillips’ niece, told AFP on Monday morning. The journalist’s wife made similar remarks to TV Globo, saying she was informed by the Brazilian embassy in the United Kingdom.
Also read: In the Amazon, the disappearance of a journalist and an anthropologist is worrying
But this information has been flatly denied by the Federal Police. For her part, she said that “the information that the bodies of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips were found is inaccurate” and that “biological material” and personal belongings of two missing people were being analyzed. “The Federal Police, which is required to inform families first (…) confirmed to us that no bodies had been found. We need to know where the ambassador got this information from, ”tweeted Beatriz Matos, Bruno Pereira’s wife, in the afternoon.
The Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (UNIVAJA), which is also conducting relentless searches, has also denied that any bodies have been found.
A suspect in custody
The search had already turned around yesterday with the discovery of personal belongings belonging to them. The two men have been missing for a week in a remote area of the Amazon. “Objects belonging to the missing were found: a health card, black pants, black sandals and a pair of boots belonging to Bruno Pereira, and a pair of boots and a backpack belonging to Dom Phillips and containing clothes The federal state police of the state of Amazonas (northwestern Brazil) said in a statement on Sunday.
Earlier, Amazon firefighters reported to the local press the discovery of personal belongings belonging to the missing, found “near the house” of Amarildo Costa de Oliveira, the only detainee in the case. The 41-year-old man, described as a “suspect”, was taken into custody and traces of blood on his boat were to be analyzed. Witnesses said he saw him pass at full speed in a boat heading in the same direction as the journalist and the indigenist.
During this trip, Bruno Pereira, 41, an expert with the Brazilian government agency for Indigenous Affairs (Funai), served as a guide to Dom Phillips, 57. This contributor to the British newspaper The Guardian was preparing a book on environmental conservation in the region bordering Peru and Colombia, which is home to 8.5 million hectares of protected indigenous land.
Disappeared after June 5
According to local indigenous activists, Bruno Pereira was frequently threatened for his fight against encroachment on indigenous lands. The two men were traveling together by boat through the Javarí Valley region, a remote area in the far west of the Amazon, conducting interviews for this book. They were last seen on June 5 in the town of Sao Gabriel, not far from their destination, the city of Atalaia do Norte.
Police said on Sunday that search teams, on the seventh day of work, covered about 25 kilometers and carried out “thorough searches through the jungle, area roads and flooded vegetation”, especially in the area. where a boat belonging to the suspect was found. Images released by police on Sunday show police officers wearing white raincoats and latex gloves working in small canoes in an area of vegetation flooded and surrounded by trees.
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