Crime & Justice

Second suspect arrested over two men missing in Brazilian Amazon

Rio de Janeiro, Jun 14 (EFE).- Brazilian police on Tuesday arrested a second suspect in the disappearance of a British journalist and a Brazilian indigenous expert missing for 10 days in a remote area of the Amazon.

The arrest was announced in a statement by the federal police, which coordinates the Crisis Committee created by the government to search for Dom Phillips, a contributor to The Guardian newspaper, and expert Bruno Araújo Pereira, who disappeared on June 5 in a region of the Amazon near the border of Brazil with Peru and Colombia.

According to the statement, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41 years old and known as “Dos Santos,” is under temporary arrest for suspected involvement in the case with Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, known as “Pelado” and who has been in prison for a week.

The second suspect is being interrogated and will be taken to a custody hearing in Atalaia do Norte, a municipality in the state of Amazonas, according to the statement.

The federal police added that it continues to search both waterways and areas in the Itaquaí River region of Atalaia do Norte, where the pair were last seen.

Federal agents also carried out two search and seizure mandates in residences in Atalaia do Norte in which some ammunition and an oar were found, which will be subjected to analysis.

On Sunday, indigenous searchers found items belonging to the Pereira and Phillips in a waterway near where they were last seen.

The men went missing on June 5 when they were traveling from the community of Sao Rafael to the city of Atalaia do Norte, where they should have arrived on the morning that Sunday.

They were traveling in a new boat, with 70 liters of gasoline, enough for the trip, and were last seen near the community of Sao Gabriel, a few kilometers from Sao Rafael.

Pereira, who has been working in the region for years and knows the area in-depth, had been the target of threats from illegal miners, loggers and drug traffickers who operate in the Javari Valley.

Staff of Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency Funai, for which Pereira formerly worked, went on strike Tuesday calling the official statements critical of Pereira to be retracted and for safety to be increased for employees working in the Amazon.

Phillips is a veteran journalist based in Brazil for 15 years and who has contributed to various international media outlets such as the Financial Times, New York Times and the Washington Post, and is currently working on a book about Javari Valley.

After little more than a week of searching and few results, non-governmental organizations and international organizations such as the UN Human Rights Office and the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights urged the government of President Jair Bolsonaro to step up its efforts to find the men. EFE


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