(Atalaia do Norte) “Human entrails” were found floating in a river and will be examined on Monday to find out if they are the remains of the British journalist and Brazilian expert who spent eight days in the Amazon looking for missing natives has specialized , announced President Jair Bolsonaro.
Posted at 10:16 am
Updated at 11:26 am
For their part, several family members of journalist Dom Phillips said they had been informed that two bodies had been found and that their identification was ongoing, information that has not been confirmed by police at the moment.
Dom Phillips, 57, and Bruno Pereira, 41, were last seen on Sunday June 5 embarking on a boat expedition to the Javari region, a difficult-to-access area in the western Amazon near Peru and classified as dangerous due to the presence of all types of traffic.
“The research goes on. But all indications are that they were injured, human entrails were found floating in the river and taken to Brasilia for DNA identification,” revealed the Brazilian head of state in an interview with CBN radio.
“Given the time that has already passed eight days, it will be very difficult to find her alive. I pray to God this is the case, but the information we have makes us fear otherwise,” he added.
Family members of the British journalist said earlier in the morning that “two bodies have been found” but identification is still ongoing, information that has not been confirmed by local police at the moment.
“We are waiting for confirmation from the federal police as to whether it is Dom and Bruno or not. We remain concerned in the meantime,” Dom Phillips’ niece, Dominique Davies, told AFP.
The journalist’s wife made a similar statement to TV Globo.
For their part, the federal police said that “the information that the bodies of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips were found is incorrect” and that “biological material” and personal belongings of two missing persons were being analyzed.
On Sunday, the authorities announced in particular the discovery of a backpack, boots and a health insurance card belonging to Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, a first major turning point in the slowly begun search operations.
“In the beginning we had wild hopes that they had sensed the danger and hid in the jungle. But no more,” commented Maria Lucia Farias, 78, Dom Phillips’ mother-in-law, on Sunday.
Author of dozens of articles on threats to the environment and indigenous peoples in the Amazon, journalist, long-time contributor to British newspaper The guardShe was preparing a book on the subject.
He was led on this expedition by Bruno Pereira, father of three, who worked for many years at Funai, the organization responsible for indigenous affairs in Brazil.
In particular, this recognized specialist has been in contact with isolated peoples of the Javari Valley, a vast indigenous territory under pressure from drug traffickers, fishermen, loggers and illegal gold miners.
His actions in defense of the indigenous people have earned him regular threats, including death threats, from these criminal groups.
President Bolsonaro, who has seen a sharp increase in deforestation in the Amazon since he took office in January 2019, has been criticized by members of the disappeared and indigenous groups for his delay in finding the two missing, which he said was set in an “adventure not recommended”.
Irish rock group U2 on Monday joined a protest movement by many celebrities, after living football legend Pelé or singer Caetano Veloso.
“We are waiting to hear what happened to these two brave men,” wrote bassist Adam Clayton on the band’s Twitter account.
A 41-year-old man dubbed a “suspect” was taken into custody and traces of blood on his boat were also analyzed.
Witnesses said they saw him pass at high speed on board a boat going in the same direction as Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira’s boat.