Police Brazilian found this Thursday traces of blood in the boat of the man who was arrested after the disappearance, four days ago, of a British journalist and a Brazilian expert in the Amazon.
“Traces were found sangre on the boat of Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, known as ‘Pelado’, arrested last Tuesday” as a “suspect”, informed the Federal Police (PF) of Brazil, while the searches continue.
“The collected material is on its way to Manaus (capital of Amazonas) aboard a Black Hawk helicopter, to be subjected to an expertise,” added the PF in a statement, along with images of investigators taking photos of what appears to be a small spot of sangre on a blue tarp, inside a motorboat with peeling paint.
The contributor to the British newspaper The Guardian, Dom Phillips, 57, and indigenous expert Bruno Araújo Pereira, 41, were traveling together through the Javarí Valley region, in the extreme west of the state of Amazonaswhere they conducted interviews for a book on environmental conservation.
They had traveled in barca to Lake Jaburu and were to return to the city of Atalaia do Norte on Sunday morning. The last time they were seen was in Sao Gabriel, not far from their destination.
Witnesses reported seeing Amarildo Oliveira pass by in a boat at high speed in the same direction as Phillips and Pereira, after they were last seen. Police say the man was arrested because he was carrying illegal caliber ammunition and drugs.
Pereira, an expert with Brazil’s government agency for indigenous affairs (Funai), had already been threatened by illegal loggers and miners. He was currently taking a temporary leave of absence from his position to dedicate himself to “personal issues”, according to the agency.
Activists, family and friends of Phillips and Pereira held protests in London and Brasilia on Thursday.
“We want answers. The government, Funai and the police are not giving them to us”, activist Kamu Dan, a 53-year-old indigenous man from the Wapichana ethnic group, told AFP in the capital Brazilian.
“There is negligence on the part of the State in the defense of indigenous peoples, who are left to their own devices against loggers, miners, invaders, drug traffickers.”, said the activist.
The Federal Police said this Thursday that together with the Armed Forces they continued to search for “so that Pereira and Phillips return as soon as possible to their loved ones.”
But a day before they admitted that they do not rule out “any line of investigation”, including homicide, in a region considered “dangerous”, with a strong presence of drug trafficking.
The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, described the expedition carried out by Phillips and Pereira as an “adventure not recommended” and assured that “in a region like that” “anything” could happen.