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Missing journalist and activist’s belongings found in the Amazon rainforest

Vale do Javari, the second largest indigenous reserve in Brazil, is known for being the scene of conflicts

Brazilian firefighters found, this Sunday, a backpack with a laptop and other objects in the area where the searches are taking place for a British journalist and a local activist who disappeared a week ago in the Amazon jungle.

Journalist Dom Phillips, contributor to The Guardian newspaper, and activist Bruno Pereira have been missing since June 5 in Vale do Javari, a remote jungle region in the Brazilian Amazon, close to the borders of Peru and Colombia, where they were investigating the threats. against indigenous peoples.

According to information provided by the firefighters, the backpack – which also contained books and some items of clothing – belongs to one of the missing persons, something confirmed by representatives of the Union of Indigenous Peoples of Vale do Javari.

The bag, which will be sent to experts for analysis, was tied to a tree in a flooded area on the banks of the river, near the house of Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, better known as “Pelado”.

So far, “Pelado” is the only suspect in the disappearances and was arrested on Friday after authorities found traces of blood on one of his boats.

After a week of searches and few results, non-governmental organizations and international organizations such as the UN Human Rights Office and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States urged the government of Jair Bolsonaro to redouble its efforts to find the missing.

Vale do Javari, the second largest indigenous reserve in Brazil, is known for being the scene of conflicts, dominated by drug trafficking, logging theft and illegal mining.

Activist Bruno Pereira, who has been in the region for years and knows the area well, had been the target of several threats from illegal miners, loggers and even drug traffickers operating in the region.

Dom Phillips, a veteran journalist, has been in Brazil for 15 years, has worked for several international media outlets, including the Financial Times, New York Times and Washington Post, and was currently doing research for a book on the Javari Valley.

Phillips and Pereira’s trail was lost on June 5, when they were traveling from the community of São Rafael to the city of Atalaia do Norte, in the state of Amazonas, where they should have arrived that Sunday morning.

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

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