Two bodies found on Amazon in search of British journalist, Brazilian expert, reports the Guardian

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ATALAIA DO NORTE, Brazil, June 13 (Reuters) – Search teams have found two bodies in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest as they search for a British journalist and an indigenous Brazilian expert, the Guardian reported on Monday, citing a source close to the journalist informed by a Brazilian. Diplomat.

On Sunday, Brazilian police said search teams had found the personal effects of freelance journalist Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, a former official with the federal indigenous agency Funai, in a creek off the river where they had been last seen June 5.

Brazil’s ambassador to London told Paul Sherwood, Phillips’ brother-in-law, that authorities were working to identify the two bodies, which were found tied to a tree near the river, according to the Guardian. to which Phillips often contributed.

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The two men were on a reporting trip to the remote jungle near the border with Peru and Colombia which is home to the largest number of uncontacted indigenous people in the world. The wild and lawless region has attracted cocaine smuggling gangs, as well as loggers, miners and illegal hunters.

Brazilian news site G1 reported on Monday that search teams had found their bodies, citing the journalist’s Brazilian wife. However, the report was quickly updated to state that the bodies had not yet been identified.

Federal police said on Monday that reports that the bodies had been found were not accurate. Only biological material and personal effects of the missing men have been found so far, as previously announced, police said.

More than 100 indigenous people, many wearing body paint and headdresses, marched Monday in the riverside town of Atalaia do Norte, near where the bodies were found, to demand better treatment of indigenous people and the justice for both men.

News of the couple’s disappearance reverberated around the world and environmentalists and human rights activists urged Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to step up the search.

Bolsonaro, who was questioned last year by Phillips at a press conference about weakening environmental enforcement in Brazil, said last week that the two men were “living an adventure that is not not recommended” and suggested that they could have been executed. Read more

State police detectives involved in the investigation told Reuters they were focusing on poachers and illegal fishers in the area, who often clashed with Pereira as he organized indigenous patrols of the area. local reserve. Read more

Police have arrested a fisherman, Amarildo da Costa, known as “Pelado”, for possession of weapons and are keeping him in custody while they investigate the case. Lawyers and Costa’s family said he was fishing the river legally and denied playing a role in the men’s disappearance.

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Reporting by Jake Spring Additional reporting by Gabriel Araujo and Steven Grattan in Sao Paulo Editing by Brad Haynes, Christian Plumb and Angus MacSwan

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