Murders in the Amazon: Brazilian police raises doubts

Murders in the Amazon
The depiction of the Brazilian police raises doubts

The assassins of a British journalist and an indigenous expert on the Brazilian Amazon acted alone, the police claim that they have no supporters. Indigenous representatives do not believe a word. The US State Department is also involved.

Following the assassinations of Dom Phillips journalist and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon region, there are considerable doubts about the results of the Brazilian authorities’ investigation so far. Indigenous officials reject police’s assessment that no criminal gangs were involved. The US government has called for a thorough background investigation.

Phillips and Pereira got lost on June 5 on an excursion to the Amazon. Ten days later, the suspect took the police to a place where he said he had buried their bodies. Human remains discovered at the site were transported to Brasilia for identification on Thursday. On Friday, police confirmed that one of the dead was clearly identified by criminals as Dom Philips.

Two suspects have been arrested so far. According to the police, there are indications that other people may have been involved in the crime. However, police said on Friday: “The results of the investigation indicate that the murderers acted alone, without clients, without a criminal organization behind the murders.”

“Crime planned to the last detail”

The Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (Unijava), which was involved in the search for both men, immediately disputed this. Not only two murderers were behind the crime, but “a powerful criminal group that planned the crime down to the smallest detail,” the Uniyava statement said. Authorities ignored numerous complaints against organized gangs in the region.

Phillips and Pereira were “murdered because they worked to protect the rainforest and the people who live there,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price. “We demand accountability and justice. Together, we must step up our efforts to protect environmentalists and journalists.”

British journalist Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Pereira researched a book on violence against indigenous peoples and the sustainable protection of the rainforests of the Javari Valley. The region, which borders Peru and Colombia, has active gold miners, poachers and drug gangs. Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who is responsible for violence and environmental destruction in the Amazon, has provoked outrage over statements about the two men. He accused Philipps of making “reckless” trips to areas where he was not welcome.

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