Fears grow as British journalist goes missing in Brazilian Amazon

·1-min read
The Itaquai River runs through the Vale do Javari region in Amazonas state in Brazil (AP)
The Itaquai River runs through the Vale do Javari region in Amazonas state in Brazil (AP)

A British journalist and an Indigenous affairs expert have both gone missing in Brazil after receiving threats from locals.

Dom Phillips, a regular contributor to the Guardian, and Bruno Araújo Pereira were last seen in the São Rafael community at 7am on Sunday.

They were returning by boat from the Vale do Javari indigenous land and were bound for the city of Atalaia do Norte but never showed up.

The area has been marked by violent conflicts between fishers, poachers and government agents.

Pereira, a former government official tasked with protecting Brazil’s uncontacted tribes, has long received threats from the loggers and miners seeking to invade their lands.

He is currently on leave from his post with Brazil’s Indigenous affairs agency.

Phillips also has contributed to the Washington Post and New York Times.

A spokesperson for the Guardian said it is “very concerned and is urgently seeking information about Mr Phillips’ whereabouts and condition”.

They added: “We are in contact with the British embassy in Brazil and local and national authorities to try to establish the facts as soon as possible.”

The region has seen repeated shootings between hunters and fishers and official security agents, who have a permanent base in the area, known for having the world’s largest population of uncontacted Indigenous people.

In September 2019, an employee of the Indigenous affairs agency was shot dead in Tabatinga, the largest city in the region. The crime was never solved.