Brazil police find remains in search for UK journalist, suspect confesses

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Police officers escort Oseney da Costa de Oliveira in Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas state, Brazil, on Wednesday. Reuters

One of two men arrested over the disappearance of a British journalist and an Indigenous expert in the Brazilian Amazon confessed to having buried the pair in the jungle, federal police said Wednesday after human remains were found.

Dom Phillips and his guide Bruno Pereira went missing June 5 in a remote part of the Amazon that is rife with environmental crimes including illegal mining, fishing and logging, as well as drug trafficking.


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Police did not specify whether the suspect, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, also confessed to killing the pair, saying only that he admitted to having participated in the episode and “recounted in detail the crime that was committed and indicated the place where he buried the bodies.”

Eduardo Alexandre Fontes, head of federal police in Brazil’s Amazonas state, told a press conference that Oliveira said the two men were fatally shot.

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Recovered human remains are seen in a police vehicle in Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas state, Brazil. AP

The location where the remains were found was “very difficult to reach,” the police officer said in Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon.

“Excavations have been carried out on site. The excavations will continue, but human remains have already been found.

“As soon as we have been able to verify with the help of expertise that it is indeed the remains of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, they will be returned to the families.”

Earlier in the day, Oliveira was taken by police to the search site along the Itaquai River, media reports said.

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A demonstrator takes part in a protest for the search for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira on Wednesday. Reuters


Phillips’ Brazilian wife, Alessandra Sampaio, in a statement on Wednesday thanked “all the teams that carried out the search, especially the Indigenous volunteers,” whose absence from the press conference was criticised by some observers.

“Although we are still awaiting final confirmation, this tragic finale puts an end to the anguish of not knowing where Dom and Bruno were,” she said.

“Today we also begin our fight for justice… we will only have peace when the necessary measures are taken to ensure that such tragedies do not happen again.”

The other suspect, a man reported to be Oliveira’s brother, Oseney da Costa Oliveira, was arrested Tuesday in Atalaia do Norte — the city Phillips and Pereira were returning to when they disappeared in the Javari Valley after receiving threats during a trip.

Agence France-Presse

 

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