Police have recovered the boat used by British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous defender Bruno Pereira when they were killed in the Amazon jungle.
Federal Police in Amazonas state said in a statement that Fire Service and Navy agents “found the boat used by the victims at approximately 20:20 on June 19.” “The boat will be subjected to the necessary forensic examinations in order to contribute to a full clarification of all the facts.”
Police Chief Alex Perez Timoteo said the white metallic vehicle was found at a depth of 20-30 metres, near the bank of the Itakaway River. It was weighed by six bags of ground. Police also found a 40-horsepower Yamaha engine.
Phillips and Pereira were traveling on the boat on June 5 when they were reported missing after failing to show up at their destination in Atalaya do Norte, a small town close to Brazil’s border with Peru.
Phillips was working on a book on sustainable development called How to Save the Amazon, and Pereira, who had been in close contact with local indigenous groups, was helping him with interviews.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the crimeWith one of them confessing to the murder. Last week, he drove police to a remote location in the woods where Phillips and Pereira were buried after they were shot. Five other people wanted by the authorities for their participation in the concealment of the bodies.
Although officials did not impose any reason for the brutal killings, it is believed that Pereira was the main target.
An Aboriginal advocate and former official with the federal government’s Aboriginal Foundation, he was aware of the illegal poaching prevalent in the area and was allegedly threatened by at least one man who had been arrested by the police.
The westernmost region of Brazil is home to large amounts of turtles and the pirarucu, one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. The animals fetch high prices in the markets of Atalaia do Norte, as well as across the border in neighboring Colombia.
The murder sparked outrage in both Brazil and Britain, where Phillips previously worked as an editor for Mixmag magazine in the 1990s. It has unfamiliarly highlighted the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro, A man who many believe bears some responsibility for the crime.
Bolsonaro has weakened state machinery designed to protect indigenous peoples and the environment and has encouraged loggers, miners, and fishermen to invade parts of the Amazon legally reserved exclusively for indigenous groups.
The number of recorded invasions and attacks on indigenous land rose from 111 in 2018, the year before Bolsonaro took power, to 263 in 2020, according to a study undertaken by indigenous rights group CIMI.
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