Two bodies have been found in an Amazon search for a British journalist and a Brazilian expert, the Guardian reports

ATalia do Norte, Brazil, June 13 (Reuters) – Search teams have found two bodies in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest while searching for a British journalist and a Brazilian indigenous expert, the Guardian reported on Monday, citing a relative of the journalist who was briefed by a Brazilian. diplomat.

On Sunday, Brazilian police said search teams found the belongings of independent journalist Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, a former official with the Funai Federal Indigenous Agency, in a creek off the river where they were last seen on June 5.

Brazil’s ambassador to London, Paul Sherwood, told Phillips’ brother-in-law that authorities were working to identify the two bodies, which were found tied to a tree near the river, according to The Guardian, to which Phillips often contributed.

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The two men were on a press trip in the remote jungle region near the borders with Peru and Colombia that has the world’s largest unconnected indigenous population. The lawless wilderness lured cocaine-smuggling gangs, along with illegal loggers, miners, and poachers.

Brazilian news site G1 reported on Monday that search teams had found their bodies, citing the journalist’s Brazilian wife. However, the report was soon updated to reflect that the bodies had yet to be identified.

On Monday, the Federal Police said the reports that the bodies had been found were incorrect. The police said that only biological materials and belongings of the missing men have been found so far, as previously announced.

More than 100 Aboriginal people, many in body paint and head coverings, marched in the riverside town of Atalaia do Norte, near where the bodies were found, to demand better treatment for the indigenous population and justice for the two men.

The couple’s disappearance has been reported worldwide and environmental and human rights activists are urging Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to intensify the search.

Bolsonaro, who last year faced tough questioning from Phillips at a news conference about weakening environmental law enforcement in Brazil, said last week that the two men “were on an unrecommended adventure” and suggested they could have been executed. Read more

State police investigators involved in the investigation told Reuters they were focusing on poachers and poachers in the area, who often clashed with Pereira while he was patrolling indigenous peoples in the local reserve. Read more

Police have arrested fisherman Amarildo da Costa, known as “Pelado”, on weapons charges and are holding him while investigating the case. Lawyers for Costa and his family said he fished legally in the river and denied he had any role in the two men’s disappearance.

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(Jake Spring reporting) Additional reporting by Gabriel Araujo and Stephen Grattan in Sao Paulo Editing by Brad Haines, Christian Plumb and Angus McSwan

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