Belongings of missing British journalist and companion found by divers in Brazil

UK

Divers searching for a missing British journalist and his colleague have found a backpack and laptop in a remote part of the Amazon.

Journalist Dom Phillips, 57, and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, 41, were last seen on 5 June near the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which is in western Brazil near the borders of Peru and Colombia.

The two men were in the Sao Rafael community and were returning by boat to the nearby city of Atalaia do Norte, but they never arrived.

Local volunteers, the army, civil defence officials and state police have been searching for them and police have launched a criminal investigation.

The backpack was tied to a tree that was half-submerged, as it is flood season in the region. That and the laptop were retrieved by police and brought by boat to Atalaia do Norte.

A police statement said clothing belonging to Mr Pereira had been found, including a health identification card in his name, and a backpack with clothes belonging to Mr Phillips, and the boots of both men.

Police have already found traces of blood in the boat of a fisherman, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, also known as Pelado, who has been arrested and is the only suspect so far.

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Mr da Costa de Oliveira pulled a rifle on Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira the day before they disappeared, according to indigenous people who were with them.

Dom Phillips

He denies doing anything wrong and claims military police tortured him to get a confession, his family has said.

Mr Pereira previously led the local bureau of the government’s indigenous agency, known as FUNAI, and has been involved in several operations against illegal fishing.

The area where Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira went missing has seen previous violent conflicts between fishermen, poachers, and the government.

There has also been some violence as gangs battle for control of waterways to ship cocaine.

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