Missing men in Amazon likely victims of ‘malice’, says Brazilian president

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Brazil’s federal police said Sunday it had found personal belongings of veteran correspondent Dom Phillips and Brazilian researcher Bruno Araújo Pereira, and that “biological traces” had been found and are now being analyzed.

Phillips and Pereira went missing on June 5 while traveling in the Javari Valley, in the far west of Amazonas state.

The missing couple were investigating for a book project on conservation efforts in the region, which authorities have described as “complicated” and “dangerous”, and are known to harbor illegal miners, loggers and international drug dealers.

They had reportedly received death threats several days before their disappearance.

“The evidence leads us to believe that some malice has been done to them, as human entrails have already been found floating in the river, which is already in Brasilia for DNA testing,” Bolsonaro said during an interview with CBN radio on Monday morning. .

Bolsonaro also said the chances of finding Pereira and Phillips alive are slim.

“Evidence at the moment points to the opposite,” he said.

According to authorities, blood was found last week in a boat owned by a suspect in the couple’s disappearance.

In a news conference Wednesday, Amazonas state security secretary-general Carlos Alberto Mansur said the man had been arrested after being in possession of “a lot of drugs” and ammunition used for illegal hunting.

Police have questioned five other people in connection with the missing couple, he said.

Authorities also said on Wednesday they were pursuing several lines of investigation, including murder, adding that they still “cannot rule out anything.



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