Ten days after the disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon, the worst fears were confirmed on Wednesday. One suspect admitted burying their bodies and “human remains” were found at the scene of the search.
“Last night, we obtained the confession of the first of the two arrested suspects (…) who told in detail how the crime was committed and told us where the bodies had been buried,” he told a conference. press release in Manaus (north) the head of the federal police of the state of Amazonas, Eduardo Alexandre Fontes.
Also read: Missing in the Amazon: human remains found, according to Jair Bolsonaro
Police said the suspect, a 41-year-old fisherman named Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, admitted to taking part in the “crime” but did not specify his role. The fisherman had been taken by police to the scene of the search to show them the exact location.
“Excavations have been carried out on site, excavations will continue, but human remains have already been found,” added Eduardo Alexandre Fontes. “As soon as we can verify with the expertise that these are the remains of the bodies of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, they will be returned to the families.”
“Our fight for justice” begins
The journalist’s Brazilian wife, Alessandra Sampaio, thanked in a statement “all the teams that conducted the research, including the native volunteers” whose absence at the press conference was criticized by many observers.
“Even though we are still waiting for the final confirmation, this tragic outcome puts an end to the anxiety of not knowing where Dom and Bruno were. Now we will be able to take them home and say goodbye to them with love, ”she said. “Today we are also beginning our struggle for justice (…) We will not have peace until the necessary steps are taken to prevent such tragedies from happening again.”
The British journalist and the Brazilian expert were last seen on June 5 during an expedition in the Javari Valley area. This region close to the border with Peru and Colombia is considered very dangerous, with multiple drug trafficking, fishing or illegal gold mining. In recent years, it has become a strategic focus for drug gangs that transport cocaine or cannabis produced in neighboring countries by river.
Author of dozens of reports on the Amazon, 57-year-old Dom Phillips, who has lived in Brazil for 15 years, has once again traveled to the region as part of research for a book on environmental protection.
Read more: In the Amazon, the disappearance of a journalist and an anthropologist is worrying
Jair Bolsonaro’s controversial remarks
The disappearance of the two men has caused a stir in the world, with reactions from leading political figures and celebrities such as members of the Irish rock band U2.
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is in favor of mining and farming indigenous reserves in the Amazon, has been heavily criticized for calling the two men’s expedition an “unrecommended adventure.” On Wednesday, he said Dom Phillips was “frowned upon” in the Amazon because he had written “many reports against gold miners on the environment.” “In this very isolated area, a lot of people didn’t like it,” he added.
“It’s very sad,” former left-wing president Lula da Silva (2003-2011), a 2022 presidential candidate, told the Federal Police on Twitter. “People have died to defend their native lands and the environment.” Brazil can’t be that. “
I just found out that the Federal Police may have found the bodies of Dom Philips and Bruno. It’s very sad.… Https://t.co/6TrMgDuZ5i
– LulaOficial (@Lula)January 16, 2022
#Amazon #suspect #buried #bodies #missing