Identified: Five suspects who help hide bodies of British journalist and his companion in the Amazon

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Five suspects helped hide the bodies of British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira after they were murdered in the Amazon, Brazilian police have said.

The pair were last seen on their boat on the Itaquai River – near the entrance of the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia – on the 5 June, disappearing shortly thereafter.

Their bodies were found 10 days later.

An autopsy suggested they were killed by a “firearm with typical hunting ammunition” and three men have already been arrested.

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

Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, a fisherman who police say confessed to killing the two victims, his brother Oseney da Costa, and a third man, Jeferson da Silva Lima, have been arrested.

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Federal Police officers escort a man accused of being involved

The suspects allegedly dismembered the bodies, set them on fire and threw them in a ditch, local media has reported.

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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.

Shock at the murders has echoed 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.

Mr Phillip’s wife said the family can “say goodbye with love” after his body was found.

Bruno Pereira disappeared in the Amazon with Dom Phillips on 5 June, 2022. Pic: BAND TV
Image:
Bruno Pereira disappeared alongside Dom Phillips. Pic: BAND TV

“Today, we also begin our quest for justice. I hope that the investigations exhaust all possibilities and bring definitive answers on all relevant details as soon as possible,” she said.

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