HomeWorld NewsSuspects confess to killing British journalist and Brazilian guide – report

Suspects confess to killing British journalist and Brazilian guide – report

ATALAIA DO NORTE, Brazil, June 15 (Reuters) – Two suspects have confessed to killing and dismembering British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, TV Globo reported on Wednesday, citing police sources, after the men disappeared during more than a week in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.

Federal police said in a statement earlier that they were still looking for Phillips and Pereira in what they called a murder investigation after arresting the suspects. Band News also reported that at least one of the suspects confessed.

Reuters witnesses saw police take a hooded man they said was a suspect to the river where the couple had disappeared. The police did not comment on the reported confessions.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday afternoon that he expected the matter to be resolved “in the next few hours.”

Police have identified the suspects as fisherman Amarildo da Costa, known as “Pelado”, who was arrested last week for carrying weapons, and his brother Oseney da Costa, 41, or “Dos Santos “, who was arrested on Tuesday evening. Read more

The suspects’ family have denied playing a role in the men’s disappearance. Public defenders representing the brothers could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reports suggest a grim conclusion to a case that sparked global alarm, hung over Bolsonaro at a regional summit and sparked concern in Britain’s parliament on Wednesday.

Phillips, a freelance journalist who has written for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was researching a book about the trip with Pereira, a former remote tribesman and recent contact at the federal indigenous affairs agency Funai.

They were in a remote jungle near the border with Colombia and Peru called the Javari Valley, home to the largest number of uncontacted natives in the world. The area has been overrun by fishermen, hunters, loggers and illegal miners, and police are calling it a key route for drug trafficking.

The brothers were seen meeting on the Itacoai River moments after Phillips and Pereira passed June 5, returning to the riverside town of Atalaia do Norte, a witness told federal police in a report seen by Reuters.

The police report says witnesses heard Pereira say he received threats from Amarildo da Costa. A former official with the government’s indigenous affairs agency Funai, Pereira was instrumental in stopping illegal gold mining and fishing by poachers on rivers inhabited by indigenous Javari tribes.

News of the men’s disappearance echoed around the world, with human rights organisations, environmentalists and press freedom advocates urging Bolsonaro to step up the search.

Bolsonaro, who has already faced tough questions from Phillips at a press conference about weakening environmental enforcement, said last week that the two men were “living an adventure that is not recommended”. Read more

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro suggested that Phillips had made enemies by writing about environmental issues.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament on Wednesday he was deeply concerned about Phillips’ disappearance and said his government was working with Brazilian authorities to investigate the case. Read more

“What we have told the Brazilians is that we are ready to provide any support they may need,” he said.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Jake Spring and Bruno Kelly Additional reporting by Peter Frontini and Steven Grattan in Sao Paulo and Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro Writing by Anthony Boadle Editing by Brad Haynes and Diane Craft

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Must Read