‘Brazil Fisherman Admits Killing British Journalist And Expert In Amazon’
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MANAUS, BRAZIL (Worthy News) – Brazilian police say an illegal fisherman has confessed to killing British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the remote Amazon, where they investigated abuses and crime.
Suspect Amarildo Oliveira led officers deep into the forest to where he first shot and killed the men and then buried their bodies, ending more than a week of searching, federal police said Wednesday.
After night fell in the Javari Valley, near Brazil’s border with Peru and Colombia, search teams brought body bags to the docks at the city of Atalaia do Norte.
Officials cautioned that an autopsy would be needed to confirm whether the remains are Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41.
Dom Phillips, a contributor to outlets such as The Guardian and the Financial Times, and Bruno Pereira, an expert on indigenous peoples, disappeared last week in the Javari Valley. It is a remote area near the border with Peru that is home to several native tribes.
Environmentalists said the killings underscored that situation had deteriorated dramatically since the election in 2018 of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. The president’s rhetoric in support of illegal gold miners and loggers has been taken as a green light to raze the rainforest, critics say.
“They killed Bruno and Dom. They killed two of ours,” The Financial Times paper quoted Carlos Rittl, a Brazilian biologist and a policy adviser at the Rainforest Foundation Norway, as saying.
“They died because they cared. They died because, for three-and-a-half years, the president has attacked indigenous people, environmentalists, and journalists and encouraged crime in the Amazon.”
Before the news of the alleged murder, Bolsonaro reportedly said: “That Englishman [Phillips] was disliked in the region because he wrote a lot against [illegal] miners and about environmental questions. He should have redoubled his efforts to look after himself.”
However, those who knew him well said Phillips, 57, was a seasoned journalist. He had lived in Brazil for 15 years.
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