The operations of search for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira They are focused on the flooded jungle of the Javarí Valley: where he hopes to find “in the next few hours or days” clues to the whereabouts of the journalist and the indigenous activist who disappeared in the Brazilian Amazon.
Since his disappearance on June 5, a group made up of 20 indigenous people from the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javarí Valley (UNIVAJA) has been examining the area of the municipality of Atalaia do Norte, in the west of the state of Amazonas, where the British journalist Dom Phillips and the indigenista Bruno Pereira they were last seen aboard a boat on the Itaquaí River.
“We work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” he explained to the agency. AFP the agricultural engineer Orlando de Moraes Possuelo, UNIVAJA consultant and coordinator of the searches. Following international pressure, the federal police and the army joined the search.
“The search is carried out with small canoes, using oars, without motors, especially in the ‘igapós’, areas of the jungle that are flooded at the time when the river rises” as a result of the rains, the specialist stated.
The indigenous people track the unflooded areas on foot through the muddy ground and advance through the thick vegetation. It is a huge border region with Peru and Colombia, where some 19 isolated indigenous groups and where drug traffickers, loggers, miners and illegal fishermen operate. Local communities are confident that they will soon find the trail that leads to Phillips and Pereira.
The last significant step was the recent discovery of personal belongings of the disappearedsuch as clothing and footwear, which according to firefighters were submerged near the house of Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, the only one detained so far in connection with the case.
“Human viscera” in the Amazon: what is known about the search for the journalist and the indigenista
The clues collected so far
Witnesses in the area had timely confirmed that they saw the fisherman Amarildo Oliveira sail a boat at high speed in the same direction as Phillips and Pereiraafter these were last seen.
There are additional indications that further complicate the situation of the fisherman, given that the local police identified traces of blood in a detainee’s boat and “apparently human” materialwhich are being examined by the National Institute of Criminalistics of the Federal Police.
“The work is already concentrating on a small area (…) We believe that in the next few days or hours, we can find the rest of the equipment, perhaps the boat, and probably the bodies,” he told AFP engineer Possuelo, who at this point considers unlikely to find the two men alive.
Possuelo hypothesizes that the tragic disappearance of Phillips and Pereira is linked to illegal fishing of large Amazonian fish, like the pirarucú, of considerable value in the market. In fact, Pereira was helping the Indians “avoid predatory fishing,” he reasoned.
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