Brazilian police arrest 2nd speculate in disappearance of journalist, native expert

Brazilian police arrest 2nd speculate in disappearance of journalist, native expert

Brazil’s federal police said Tuesday they arrested a second speculate in connection with the disappearance of an native expert and a British journalist in a far away area of the Amazon.

The speculate, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41, is a fisherman and a brother of the man so far considered by police as the main speculate in the case, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, also 41, nicknamed Pelado.

Federal police also said in a statement that they seized ammunition and an oar, but did not say why the items were confiscated, who they belonged to or where they were found.

De Oliveira told The Associated Press on Friday that he had visited Pelado in jail and was told that local police had tortured Pelado on his own boat, which was also seized by authorities.

Federal police did not closest respond to an AP request asking why Oseney da Costa de Oliveira was named in its statement, which is not a standard procedure of the force.

An individual holds a poster with the images of Phillips, left, and Pereira who disappeared June 5. Federal police and military forces are searching the Javari Valley native territory, a far away area of the Amazon rainforest. (Bruna Prado/The Associated Press)

Search continues

native people who were with expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips have said that Pelado brandished a rifle at them on the day before the two men disappeared.

He has denied any wrongdoing and claims police tortured him to try to get a confession, his family told the AP.

The search for the missing men continued Tuesday, following the discovery of a backpack, laptop and other personal belongings submerged in a river Sunday.

Pereira, 41, and Phillips, 57, were last seen June 5 near the entrance of the Javari Valley native Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia.

Violent conflicts

Federal police issued a statement Monday denying media reports that the two men’s bodies had been found.

Search teams are focusing their efforts around a identify in the Itaquai river, near the city of Atalaia do Norte, where volunteers from the Matis native group say on Saturday they found a tarp from the boat used by the missing men.

The Javari Valley has seven known native groups — some only recently contacted, such as the Matis. The valley also has at the minimum 11 uncontacted groups, making the vicinity the largest concentration of secluded tribes in the world.

That area has seen violent conflicts between fishermen, poachers and government agents. Violence has grown as drug trafficking gangs battle for control of waterways to ship cocaine, although the Itaquai river is not a known drug trafficking route.

LISTEN | The tensions between Brazil and its native communities:

The Current13:01Journalist, native expert missing in the Amazon rainforest

native expert Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips have disappeared in the Amazon rainforest. We discuss their work and Brazil’s broken relationship with native communities, with Ana Alfinito of the NGO Amazon Watch; and Leonardo Barros Soares, a political science professor at the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil.

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