Police followed instructions from the suspect’s forest remains, but forensic analysis to identify them has not yet been completed.
“While we are still awaiting confirmation, this tragic outcome puts an end to the sadness of not knowing the whereabouts of Dom and Bruno. Now we can bring them home and say goodbye with love,” Philips wife Alessandra Sampaio said in a statement.
The couple, who went missing on June 5, had received death threats before their departure, in coordination with an indigenous organization known as UNIVAJA. Everyone was well versed in the region’s frequent violent intrusions from illegal miners, poachers, loggers and drug traffickers – but they were equally dedicated to exposing how such activities endanger Brazil’s protected forests and endanger the local people. Accelerates deforestation
Pereira, a 41-year-old father of three, has spent his life serving the local people of the country since joining the Brazilian government’s Indigenous Agency (FUNAI) in 2010. He told CNN that the agency’s separate and newly contacted indigenous coordination office had launched a major campaign in 2018 to reach out to lone locals under his leadership and had participated in several operations to flush out illegal miners from protected lands.
An interview with CNN last year showed Pereira’s passion. “I can’t stay away from it for long Relatives“He said, referring to the locals in the region with the affectionate word” relatives. “
Phillips, 57, a well-known British journalist living in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, brought up environmental issues and the pages of the Amazon Financial Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times and mainly The Guardian. When Pereira joined Philips to help with research for the new book, he was on leave from FUNAI at a time when the agency was undergoing major changes.
The title of the planned book will be “How to Save Amazon.”
In a video filmed in May in Ashaninka village in northwestern Acre and released by the Ashaninka Association, Phillips can be heard explaining his efforts: “I am here (…) with you, to learn about your culture, how you have learned. “How do you live here and how do you cope with the threats from invaders and gold diggers and everything else?”
A dangerous undertaking
Home to thousands of indigenous peoples and more than a dozen unconnected groups, Brazil’s vast Xavier Valley is a patchwork of rivers and dense jungles that make it very difficult to access. Crime there often goes under the radar, or is simply confronted by indigenous patrols – sometimes ending in bloody conflicts.
In September 2019, according to the Brazilian public prosecutor’s office, Maxial Pereira dos Santos was assassinated in the same area. In a statement, a FUNAI union group cited evidence that the killing of Dos Santos was revenge for efforts to combat illegal commercial excavations in the Javier Valley, Reuters reported at the time.
Across Brazil, exposure to illegal activity on Amazon can be fatal, as CNN has previously reported. Between 2009 and 2019, more than 300 people were killed in Brazil in land and resource conflicts in the Amazon, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), citing figures from the Catholic non-profit pastoral land commission.
Critics have accused President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration of encouraging criminal networks involved in extracting illegal resources. Bolsonaro has had it since coming to power in 2019 Weak
Rallies for economic growth on the Federal Environment Agency, monstrous organizations working to save the rainforest and local lands – arguing that it is for the self-interest of indigenous groups – “Develop,” “Colonize,” and “Combine.”
Pereira lamented the deteriorating state of Brazil’s environment and indigenous defense institutions under Bolsonaro’s presidency last year. But he also saw a bright side, telling CNN that he felt the change would motivate locals in the Jawari Valley to form alliances to overcome historical divisions and protect their shared interests.
However, in a second interview with CNN later that year, he was more aware of the dangers. After returning from a recent trip to the rainforest, his legs and feet were covered with mosquito bites, Pereira described the reactions from criminal groups to local regional patrols.
“[The patrols] Surprised them, I think. He felt that since the government was withdrawing from operations, he would get a free pass in the region, “said Pereira.
But neither Pereira nor Phillips would give a “free pass” to Amazon’s exploitation.
“Dom knew the dangers of going to the Javari Valley, but he thought the story was important enough to take the risk,” Jonathan Watts, the Guardian’s global environmental editor, told CNN.
“We knew it was a dangerous place, but Dom believes it is possible to save nature and the lives of local people,” his sister, Cian Phillips, said in a video last week, urging the Bolsonaro government to intensify its search. Pair
On Wednesday, another local indigenous leader in the Javier Valley, Jam Mattis, told CNN that he had recently met with Pereira to discuss a new possible project that monitors illegal activity in his community’s territory.
“He looked happy,” Mattis recalled. “He was not afraid to do the right thing. We saw him as a warrior like us.”
And if their disappearance is intended to intimidate those who follow in their footsteps, it has the opposite effect, another local leader, Kora Kamnari, told CNN on Wednesday.
“We are more united than ever and will continue to fight until the last Swadeshi is killed.”