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Five suspected over murder of British journalist

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A member of The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) holds a placard with portraits of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, as he takes part in a protest calling on the EU to strengthen key parts of its draft regulation on deforestation-free products, in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday. Photo: Johanna Geron/Reuters

A member of The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) holds a placard with portraits of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, as he takes part in a protest calling on the EU to strengthen key parts of its draft regulation on deforestation-free products, in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday. Photo: Johanna Geron/Reuters

A member of The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) holds a placard with portraits of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, as he takes part in a protest calling on the EU to strengthen key parts of its draft regulation on deforestation-free products, in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday. Photo: Johanna Geron/Reuters

Brazilian police are believed to be investigating five suspects in connection with the murders of a British journalist and an indigenous expert.

Human remains thought to be those of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira were found on Wednesday night, 10 days after the pair went missing in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest.

The discovery came after Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira and his brother Oseney confessed to shooting the men and concealing their remains.

The assailants chased Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira as they travelled by boat on the Itaquai River, deep in the western Brazilian Amazon, police said.

The suspects confessed to shooting the pair, sinking their boat and taking their bodies more than three kilometres into the forest.

Federal police were still searching for the wreckage of the boat yesterday.

They are probing five suspects, three of whom are suspected of committing the murder.

One is suspected of disposing of the bodies, and another suspected of ordering the crime.

Police offered no motive for the killings, but earlier said Mr Pereira’s work to stop illegal fishing in an indigenous reserve had angered local fishermen.

Mr Pereira had received death threats, with witnesses saying some of the suspects had threatened him and Mr Phillips the day before their murder.

Mr Phillips, a former contributor to The Washington Post and The Guardian, and Mr Pereira, a former Brazilian indigenous rights official, were on a research trip for a book on sustainable development in the Amazon when they vanished on June 5.

Confirmation of their murder has outraged their families and colleagues, who accused Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-Right president, and his government of failing to protect environmentalists.

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Mr Phillips’s wife Alessandra thanked the global pressure campaign that had demanded a “rapid response” from the Brazilian government.

“Now we can bring them home,” she said.

Beatriz Matos, Mr Pereira’s wife, said: “Now that Bruno’s spirit is roaming through the forest and inside each one of us, our strength will be much greater.”

Ana Toni, of the Brazilian Institute for Climate and Society), said that the murder “is concrete proof of the total absence of the Brazilian state in the Amazon and in the defence of [those] who are giving their lives to fight against the deforestation of the Amazon”. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)


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