Family, friends pay tribute to Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips | Crime News

Relatives of Dom Phillips said they were “heartbroken” by the murder of British journalist and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, a day after remains were discovered in a remote area of ​​Brazil’s Amazon region where the couple disappeared.

Brazilian police said Wednesday night they recovered human remains from a grave in the jungle where they were being led by a fisherman who confessed to killing the two men. The remains are still being identified.

In a statement Thursday, members of Phillips’ family said they had been “told that two bodies were found in a remote location following a confession by one of the men in custody.”

“We are heartbroken at the confirmation that Dom and Bruno were murdered and express our deepest condolences to Alessandra, Beatriz and the other members of the Brazilian family of the two men,” read the statement, which was shared. on social networks.

“We are grateful to everyone who participated in the search, especially the Indigenous groups who worked tirelessly to find evidence of the attack.”

Pereira’s wife, Beatriz Matos, also expressed her grief on Thursday. “Now that the spirits of Bruno are wandering in the forest and spreading over us, our strength is much greater,” she said on Twitter.

Phillips’ wife, Alessandra Sampaio, said the discovery of the bodies “puts an end to the anxiety of not knowing where Dom and Bruno are”.

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

Pereira, 41, and Phillips, 57, were last seen on June 5 on their boat in a river near the entrance to the Javari Valley indigenous territory, which borders Peru and Colombia. This area has seen violent conflicts between fishermen, poachers and government agents.

Their disappearance has fueled concern and calls for action around the world, with human rights groups, environmentalists, journalists and others urging Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to step up searches after a slow start.

Bolsonaro, who was previously questioned by Phillips at a press conference about weakening environmental enforcement, said last week that the two men were “going on an adventure that is not recommended.”

He also suggested that Phillips, a freelance journalist who contributed to The Guardian and other outlets, had made enemies by writing about environmental issues.

Suspect being apprehended
Brazil’s Federal Police said on Tuesday evening they had arrested a second suspect in connection with the case. [Edmar Barros/AP Photo]

A fisherman confessed to killing the couple and took police to a site where the human remains were recovered, a federal investigator said Wednesday after a grim 10-day search.

Investigator Eduardo Alexandre Fontes said Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, nicknamed Pelado, told officers he used a gun to kill the men. Natives who were with Pereira and Phillips said Pelado brandished a gun at them the day before the couple disappeared.

Police said earlier this week they had arrested a second suspect in connection with the disappearance and identified him as Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, a fisherman and brother of the original suspect.

Police gave no immediate explanation for the motive for the killing, but earlier suggested that Pereira’s work to stop illegal fishing in an indigenous reserve had angered local fishermen.

Efforts to find the pair were spearheaded by the indigenous peoples of the region. UNIVAJA, an indigenous association in the Javari Valley, said in a statement on Wednesday that it mourned the loss of “two partners”, adding that they only had the help and protection of local police.

Jonathan Watts, global environment editor at The Guardian, said on Thursday he hoped Phillips’ work could inspire others.

“It’s a horror story that will chill anyone who’s a journalist, anyone who cares about the Amazon, indigenous peoples, our planetary life support systems,” Watts wrote in a post.

“I really hope that the work started by Dom can be continued and amplified. And that would be the only way for me that something decent could come out of something so monstrous,” he said.

Amnesty International Brazil Executive Director Jurema Werneck also called for justice for the couple – and for all those facing an upsurge in violence in the Amazon region.

“Amnesty International demands justice for Bruno and Dom. Their families must have access to truth and reparations. Brazilian society must see an end to impunity and the absence of public policies that promote and guarantee rights,” Werneck said in a statement.

“The government of President Jair Bolsonaro cannot turn a blind eye to the crimes committed in the Amazon, nor be complicit in them. All possible measures must be taken urgently to end this cycle of violence in the Amazon. Who protects those who defend the rights of indigenous peoples and the Amazon? It is the Brazilian state that has this duty.

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