Five more suspects linked to murders of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira in Brazil

·2-min read
Civil police arrive at the port of Atalaia do Norte, state of Amazonas, Brazil with the boat used by indigenist Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips (AFP via Getty Images)
Civil police arrive at the port of Atalaia do Norte, state of Amazonas, Brazil with the boat used by indigenist Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips (AFP via Getty Images)

Police in Brazil have said eight people are suspects linked to the murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira.

Three men have already been arrested over the murders in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest.

Brazilian federal police said on Sunday said that five more suspects helped hide the bodies.

The police did not name the new suspects, adding in a short statement that ongoing investigations aim to “clarify all the circumstances, motives and those involved in the case”.

The bodies of Mr Phillips and Mr Periera and Mr were identified on Friday, after one of the suspects in custody - Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira - reportedly confessed to burying their remains and led police to a spot deep in the rainforest where their remains were found.

His brother, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, was also arrested, but denies any involvement.

Dom Phillips  (Joao Laet/AP) (AP)
Dom Phillips (Joao Laet/AP) (AP)

A third arrest followed on Saturday of a suspect named Jeferson da Silva Lima - also known as Pelado da Dinha - who turned himself in after going on the run, police said.

Mr Phillips, a freelance reporter who had written for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was doing research for a book on the trip with Mr Pereira, a former head of isolated and recently contacted tribes at federal indigenous affairs agency Funai.

They were reported missing on June 5 after travelling together by boat through the Javari Valley, a remote region bordering Peru and Colombia. According to police, both were shot with hunting ammunition.

Mr Phillips was shot once, while Mr Pereira was shot three times, police added.

Supporters at a vigil outside the Brazilian Embassy in London for Dom Phillips and Bruno Araujo Pereira, (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Supporters at a vigil outside the Brazilian Embassy in London for Dom Phillips and Bruno Araujo Pereira, (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

The Javari Valley region in which the two were travelling is home to thousands of indigenous people from more than 20 groups who live in isolation from the outside world.

The area is also known for illegal fishing, mining, logging and drug-trafficking activities.

Violent conflicts between these various criminal groups, government agents and indigenous people are known to happen, and were reportedly being documented by Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira.

Mr Pereira had also received death threats prior to taking the trip, indigenous rights groups said.

Shock at the killings have reverberated across Brazil and around the world, highlighting the overhaul of indigenous agency Funai under President Jair Bolsonaro, along with a rising tide of violence and criminal incursions on native lands.

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