The English journalist Dom Phillips, an employee of the newspaper “The Guardian”, and the indigenist Bruno Araújo Pereira, of the National Indian Foundation (Funai), disappeared in the Javari Valley, in the Amazon, while traveling from the riverbank of São Rafael community to the city of Atalaia do Norte.
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The searches for the native and the journalist bring together the army, the navy, the Amazonas Public Security Secretariat (SSP-AM) and the federal police. The army has been operating in the Vale do Javari region since Monday afternoon with jungle fighters from the 16th Jungle Infantry Brigade, based in Tefé (AM).
The team has about 250 men, with military specialists in jungle operations who know the terrain where the searches are taking place.
Teams step up searches for missing Brazilian native and English journalist in the Amazon
The Navy is participating in the search with the Naval Operations Command with helicopters, watercraft and boats, but did not say how many people are on the mission.
Funai reports that the operation has been expanded with 15 employees from the foundation and the National Public Security Force (FNSP), under the coordination of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
The disappearance was reported Monday (6) by the Union of Indigenous Peoples of Vale do Javari (Univaja) and by the Observatory for Human Rights of Isolated and Recently Contacted Indigenous Peoples (OPI).
Here’s what we know about the search for the missing.
When did they disappear and what were the last steps?
The native and the journalist were last seen around 06:00 on Sunday (5). From there they left for Atalaia do Norte, a journey of about two hours. But they did not reach their destination.
Funai employees watch after the disappearance of an English journalist and native
Their disappearance was announced in a note signed by Univaja and the OPI.
Day 3 – According to the note, Pereira and Phillips traveled to an indigenous guard post near a place called Lago do Jaburu on June 3. There, the journalist was expected to do some interviews with the indigenous population.
Day 5 – On Sunday, the two were due to return to Atalaia do Norte, but before that they made a previously scheduled stop in the riverside community of São Rafael to visit a community leader known as “Churrasco”. The meeting would serve to “consolidate the joint work between the people of the river and the indigenous population in guarding the area hard hit by the intense invasions,” the note said.
The two arrived in the community of São Rafael around 6 am and, having not found the leader, spoke to his wife and left for Atalaia do Norte. The journey normally takes about two hours. Unijava and OPI reported that: “they should have arrived in the city around 8/9 am, which has not happened”.
Map shows where journalist and native disappeared in the Amazon — Photo: Arte/g1
Who are the two? Have you received a threat?
According to “The Guardian”, the newspaper for which Bishop Phillips works, “he is working on a book about the environment with support from the Alicia Patterson Foundation”.
Who are the British journalist and Brazilian indigenous people who are in AM . have disappeared
The newspaper also shared that Phillips lives in Salvador (BA) and has reported on Brazil for more than 15 years, working with vehicles such as “The Guardian”, the “Washington Post”, “The New York Times” and the “Financial Times”. †
Bruno Araújo Pereira was the regional coordinator of Funai in Atalaia do Norte for many years. According to Unijava and OPI, he is an “experienced person with deep knowledge of the region”. Pereira is one of the Funai staff with the most knowledge about isolated and recently contacted indigenous peoples. He was currently on leave from the foundation.
According to information from Univaja, the indigenous people received constant threats from loggers, prospectors and fishermen.
The organization’s legal counsel, Yura Marubo, said: g1 that Pereira was threatened by a criminal organization active in drug trafficking and illegal deforestation in the Javari Valley, made up of Brazilians, Peruvians and Colombians.
“These people are taking tons and tons of fish, wood and also drugs into Vale do Javari. That’s why our work in this region is so difficult,” he said.
He spoke about the danger of sailing in the region.
“We are not aware of any threats from Brazilian mining in this perimeter. But there is the Peruvian side, on the other side of the river. [peruana] It’s completely different from ours. There are even areas subdivided by the Peruvian government that grants concessions to companies to explore, be it logging, mining, research, in short. Therefore, navigating this stretch is very dangerous. It is a very dangerous area. We know these are places that Peruvian guerrillas can travel to. All of this is dangerous, especially now that the criminal organization is entering these areas to have absolute control.”
Who participates in searches? How big is the task force?
After the disappearance was registered, Univaja and OPI started the search for the two on Sunday with a team “made up of indigenous people who are very knowledgeable about the region”. They started working in an area of almost 200 km between Atalaia do Norte and the community of São Rafael.
Announced on Monday (6). the Brazilian Navy has also been looking for the missing people ever since. The company uses a helicopter, two boats and a watercraft.
Army searches the area where natives and journalists disappeared in the Amazon – Photo: Leger/Reproduktion
Since the announcement of the disappearance, the Navy has been responsible for conducting searches in the region with the Naval Operations Command.
The Amazon Military Command (CMA) works with 150 men and a helicopter to support the team as well as federal police officers.
The federal police in Amazonas (PF) are also investigating the disappearance, together with the Amazonas Public Security Secretariat (SSP-AM).
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday (8), the Superintendent of the Federal Police (PF) in Amazonas, Alexandre Fontes, said about 250 federal and state agents in the Atalaia do Norte region are looking for the missing. Two planes, three drones and 20 vehicles were deployed to the municipality to support research.
What do the families of the missing say?
On Tuesday (7), the wife of the English journalist Dom Phillips appealed to the authorities to strengthen the search. (look below). Alessandra Sampaio was moved and spoke of the hope of finding her husband alive.
“I would like to call on the federal government and the competent authorities to intensify the search, because we still have some hope of finding them. Even if I don’t find the love of my life alive, they must be found, please. Intensify those searches. I didn’t want to talk sooner because the whole family is very shocked and we don’t know how to react. But I please make this appeal to intensify these searches.
On Wednesday (8), the journalist’s wife said in an interview with TV Globo that she had no hope of finding her husband alive. (look below).
On Tuesday (7), the wife of a British journalist tells about disappearance in the Amazon
On Wednesday (8), Alessandra Sampaio said she has no hope of finding her husband alive
Also on Tuesday, the journalist’s sister made a request and demanded urgency from the authorities (see below)†
“Every minute counts,” said Sian Phillips, who lives in the UK, crying.
English journalist’s sister: ‘Do your best to find him’
“My brother Dom lives in Brazil with his wife, he loves the country and cares a lot about the people there. We knew it was a dangerous place, but Dom is a really talented journalist and was researching for a book when he disappeared yesterday We are very concerned about him and we urge the Brazilian authorities to do everything they can (…) if someone can help and increase the resources for the searches, that would be great, because time is of the essence.”
Bruno Pereira’s family appealed to authorities for urgency and priority in the searches. In the note, signed by Bruno’s partner and two brothers and issued by family colleagues in Pará, they talk about the fear that awaits news. They say they hope it was an accident and are strengthening their prayers.
“It has been 48 hours of fear waiting for news. We had little information about their location, which has increased this feeling. But we are also hopeful that there has been an accident with the boat and they are waiting for help. “We maintain our prayers and appreciate the support of family and friends. However, we urge local, state and national authorities to give priority and urgency to the search for the missing.”
What do environmental entities and agencies say?
In a joint note published Tuesday (7), indigenous entities criticized the federal government’s actions and demanded speed in its search for the indigenous population and the journalist.
The document is signed by the Union of Indigenous Peoples of Vale do Javari (Univaja), Observatory for the Human Rights of Isolated and Recent Contact Indigenous Peoples (OPI), Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (Coiab), and Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib).
Taskforce searches for missing English journalist and native in Vale do Javari, in AM
The entities claim that, even after activating several security forces, Monday’s searches were supported by just six military police officers and a team from the National Indian Foundation (Funai).
The note also stated that the information released by the federal government that the Federal Police (PF) raided the region for the second time with the support of the Brazilian Navy is not true.
O g1 contacted the Special Secretariat for Social Communications of the Federal Government (Secom), and is waiting for a position.
Also on Tuesday, the president of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI), Octávio Costa, in a speech before the Chamber of Deputies classified the disappearance in the Amazon as “inadmissible”. He took part in the solemn session in honor of the National Day of Press Freedom.
“It is unacceptable that the Amazon is still alive with these kinds of episodes, with people who have disappeared on indigenous lands due to the actions of squatters, being targeted by squatters. It is unacceptable. freedom of the press,” he stated.