Murdered in the Amazon ?: Police find British reporter's backpack

The British journalist Dom Phillips and the indigenous expert Bruno Pereira are researching violence against indigenous peoples in the extreme north-west of Brazil.

Murdered in the Amazon ?: Police find British reporter's backpack

The British journalist Dom Phillips and the indigenous expert Bruno Pereira are researching violence against indigenous peoples in the extreme north-west of Brazil. A week ago they disappeared without a trace. The evidence of a crime intensifies.

Brazilian authorities have found personal belongings of missing British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira deep in the Amazon. Firefighters discovered Pereira's health insurance card in the water in a flooded area on the Itaquaí River, the Brazilian federal police said. Black trousers, a black sandal and two pairs of boots belonging to the missing men were also discovered. A backpack containing personal items belonging to Phillips was also found.

The site is said to be in the Brazilian border area with Colombia and Peru. The items, including a laptop, were tied to a tree, Brazilian media reports, citing a fire department spokesman. In the flooded area, people continue to search for and dive into the men.

According to the authorities, the house of a 41-year-old suspect is near the site. Investigators arrested the man on Wednesday after witnesses pointed him out. They claim to have seen him chasing Phillips and Pereira's boat. Traces of blood were later found in the man's boat, and during another check, the police also discovered drugs and cartridges for an assault rifle. Authorities then began searching the area around his home.

Phillips, 57, has lived in Brazil for 15 years. As a freelance journalist, he regularly reported for the British "Guardian". Together with Pereira, an expert on indigenous peoples, he researched a book on violence against indigenous people in the Javari Valley near Brazil's border with Peru. According to a regional indigenous organization, they were supposed to have arrived by boat on June 5 in the city of Atalaia do Norte in western Brazil. Pereira had previously reported to the police that he had been threatened several times. Gold miners, poachers and drug gangs are active in the region.

Indigenous people, family members, friends and colleagues have expressed concern that the search for the two missing people has been slow and not being pursued with enough determination. The UN human rights office called on the Brazilian authorities to step up efforts.

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