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Home World News Washington Post World News Police: Amazon fisherman confesses to murder of missing men

Police: Amazon fisherman confesses to murder of missing men

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MANAUS, Brazil – A fisherman confessed to murdering a British journalist and indigenous expert in Brazil’s remote Amazon region and took police to a site where human remains were found, a federal investigator said after a grim 10-day search for the missing couple.

Authorities said on Wednesday they expected more arrests in the case of Brazilian freelance reporter Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, who disappeared on June 5. Restarting.

They did not immediately provide a motive for the murder, but rather suggested that Pereira’s work to stop illegal fishing in an indigenous reserve had angered local fishermen.

At a press conference in the Amazon city of Manaus, federal police investigator Eduardo Alexandre Fontes said the prime suspect in the case, 41-year-old Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, told officers he used a firearm to kill the men.

“We wouldn’t be able to get to that place quickly without the confession,” Torres said of the site where police found human remains on Wednesday after being led there by de Oliveira, nicknamed “Pelado.”

Torres said the remains are expected to be identified within days, and if confirmed as the missing men, “they will be returned to the families of the two.”

“We found the bodies three kilometers (almost 2 miles) into the forest,” the investigator said, adding that officers traveled by boat for about an hour and forty minutes and another 25 minutes into the forest to reach the cemetery.

The suspect’s family had previously said he had denied anything, alleging that police tortured him to try to get a confession.

Another officer, Guilherme Torres of Amazonas State Police, said the missing man’s boat had not yet been found, but police knew the area where it was allegedly hidden.

“They put bags of dirt on the boat so it would sink,” he said. The boat’s engine was removed, researchers said.

Several days after their disappearance was reported, military leaders had also joined the effort to find Phillips and Pereira.

Pereira was on leave from Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, the government agency responsible for protecting indigenous peoples.

He “leaves a huge legacy for policies to protect uncontacted and recently contacted indigenous peoples,” the agency known as FUNAI said in a statement, calling him “one of the country’s foremost experts” on the matter.

“He was considered a reference for colleagues and indigenous peoples, with whom he developed a friendship over the years.”

President Jair Bolsonaro sent a tweet on Thursday saying: “Our condolences to the family members and may God comfort everyone’s hearts.

Bolsonaro is a frequent critic of journalists and indigenous experts alike, and his government has been accused of being slow to act on the disappearances. Before the bodies were discovered on Wednesday, he criticized Phillips in an interview, saying that the locals in the area where he went missing did not like him and that he should have been more careful in the region.

UNIVAJA, an association of indigenous peoples of the Javari valley, mourned the loss of “two partners” on Wednesday, adding that they only had help and protection from the local police.

Pereira’s colleagues held a vigil outside FUNAI’s headquarters in Brasilia.

Pereira, 41, and Phillips, 57, were last seen on their boat in a river at the entrance to the indigenous area of ​​the Javari Valley, which borders Peru and Colombia. Violent clashes have occurred in that area between fishermen, poachers and government officials.

On Wednesday morning, reporters saw federal police officers taking a hooded suspect whom they initially did not identify on the river to search groups looking for Phillips and Pereira.

On Tuesday, police said they had arrested a second suspect in connection with the disappearance and identified him as Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41, a fisherman and brother of the original suspect.

Indigenous people who were with Pereira and Phillips have said Pelado waved a rifle at them the day before the couple disappeared.

Official search teams focused their efforts around a spot in the Itaquai River where a tarp from the missing men’s boat was found on Saturday by volunteers from the Matis Indigenous group.

They found a backpack, laptop and other personal belongings underwater on Sunday.

Police previously reported that they found traces of blood in Pelado’s boat.

Authorities have said a key investigation has led to an international network paying poor fishermen to fish illegally in the reserve of the Javari Valley, Brazil’s second largest indigenous area.

Pereira, who previously headed FUNAI’s local office in the region, had participated in several operations against illegal fishing. usually leading to seizure of fishing gear and fines for violators. Only the indigenous people are allowed to fish legally on their territory.

But the police do not rule out other motives, such as drug trafficking.

Phillips’ wife, Alessandra Sampaio, said the discovery of bodies “ends the fear of not knowing where Dom and Bruno are.”

“Now we can bring them home and say goodbye with love,” Sampaio said in a statement. “Today we also begin our quest for justice.”

Pereira’s wife Beatriz Matos expressed her sadness on Thursday.

“Now that Bruno’s ghosts are wandering through the forest and scattering over us, our power is much greater,” she said on Twitter.

Savarese message from Sao Paulo.



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