Dom Phillips sets off for the rainforest
The journalist left his home in Salvador, where he lived with his wife. He sent relatives in the UK a picture of the Amazon with a rainbow over it, which he had taken from the plane.
Photograph of a rainbow over the Brazilian Amazon taken by Dom Phillips on 1 June.
Atalaia do Norte
Phillips and Pereira set off for the Javari valley
The pair leave by boat from Atalaia do Norte, a riverside town that is the entry point to the Javari reserve – a vast area of rivers and rainforests in Amazonas state near the border with Peru. Their destination was the Lago do Jaburu region.
Lago do Jaburu
Phillips and Pereira reach their destination
The Univaja Indigenous group said Phillips and Pereira had reached their destination on Friday evening.
Lago do Jaburu
The pair were threatened on Saturday 4 June, when a group of armed men brandished firearms at a patrol by members of the Univaja Indigenous association, according to the association’s president Paulo Marubo. Phillips photographed the men at the time, Marubo told the Associated Press. Days earlier, Pereira had reportedly received a written threat stemming from his opposition to illegal fishing gangs plundering the Javari’s rivers. “We know who you are, and we’ll find you to settle the score,” it warned, according to O Globo newspaper.
Lago do Jaburu
Return journey by boat begins
Phillips and Pereira are thought to have started returning by river to Atalaia do Norte. The journey should have taken no more than three hours.
Stop-off for scheduled meeting
En route, they stopped in the community of São Rafael, where Pereira had scheduled a meeting with a local leader to discuss Indigenous patrols to fight the “intense invasions” that have been taking place on their lands. When the community leader did not arrive, the men decided to continue to Atalaia do Norte, about a two-hour trip.
Last reported sighting of Phillips and Pereira
They were last seen shortly after near the community of São Gabriel, just downstream from São Rafael.
Atalaia do Norte
Local Indigenous leaders sounded the alarm and sent a search party after they failed to arrive at their destination by 2pm.
Appeals for help
Statements from Phillips’ Brazilian wife and British sister appealed for help from Brazilian authorities to find him. Alessandra Sampaio, who lives with her husband in the north-eastern city of Salvador, said in a statement: “Brazilian authorities, our families are in despair. Please answer the urgency of the moment with urgent actions.”
“We are really worried about him”
Phillips’ sister, Sian Phillips, said in a video statement on Monday night: “We knew it was a dangerous place but Dom really believed it’s possible to safeguard the nature and the livelihood of the Indigenous people. We are really worried about him and urge the authorities in Brazil to do all they can to search the routes he was following. If anyone can help scale up resources for the search that would be great because time is crucial. We love our brother and want him and his Brazilian guide found … every minute counts.”
A video appeal from Sian Phillips, sister of missing journalist Dom Phillips.
Authorities’ search efforts criticised
Late on Monday, Brazil’s navy said seven of its officials were involved in the search, while the army said members of a jungle infantry division had been sent to the men’s last known location by speedboat. Earlier in the day, the army had faced criticism after announcing that it had yet to deploy since orders had not been sent by the defence ministry in the capital, Brasília.
Two men arrested
Two fishers in the area were arrested by the police on Monday night. It remained unclear why, and they were released soon afterwards.
Tearful appeal from Phillips’ wife
“Even if I don’t find the love of my life alive, they must be found, please – intensify the search,” Sampaio implored, breaking down as she spoke.
Police open criminal investigation
Brazilian police on Tuesday opened a criminal investigation into the men’s disappearance. On Tuesday night, Amazonas state police said they had interviewed five people so far: “Four people as witnesses and another … as a suspect.”
A helicopter is finally deployed
On Tuesday morning a helicopter joined the mission. Official photographs of the army deployment, showing a single vessel, did not point to a massive operation given the impressive military resources available in the Amazon region.
Bolsonaro appears to blame missing men
In his first official comments on the disappearance, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, criticised what he called an inadvisable “adventure”. “Quite frankly, two people in just one boat, in that kind of region, absolutely wild, is an adventure that isn’t recommendable for anyone. Anything might happen. It could have been an accident. They could have been executed,” he said, prompting immediate outrage.
Appeal gains global momentum
The former footballer Pelé led a group of Brazilian celebrities in calling for authorities to intensify their search efforts. He was joined by another of Brazil’s best-loved personalities Dr Drauzio Varella, musician Caetano Veloso, singer Gaby Amarantos and former footballer Walter Casagrande who all voiced their concerns about the fate of the two men. Earlier in the week, the US climate envoy, John Kerry, committed to pursuing the facts behind the disappearance.
The fight for the preservation of the Amazon Forest and of the indigenous groups belongs to all of us. I am moved by the disappearance of Dom Phillips and Bruno Ferreira, who dedicate their lives to this cause. I join the many voices that make the appeal to intensify the search.
— Pelé (@Pele) June 8, 2022
‘No evidence of crime’ as one man is arrested
Authorities are yet to find any evidence of a crime three days after the men went missing. Police in the far west of Brazil say their inquiries have led to the arrest of one man. The suspect was caught in possession of drugs, a shotgun and ammunition restricted for military use, but was not named. Earlier in the day, police sources said they had detained a man named Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira on similar charges. However, the Amazonas state police chief told reporters it was too early to link any suspect directly to the pair’s disappearance.
Media organisations urge Bolsonaro to do more
Editors and journalists from some of the world’s biggest news organisations published a letter to the Brazilian president to ask that he “urgently step up and fully resource the effort” to find Phillips and Pereira.
Vigils held in London and Brasília
Family members, journalists and civil society organisations held a vigil at the Brazilian embassy in London to urge Brazilian authorities to bolster the search. Employees of the National Indigenous Foundation attended a vigil in Brasília.
A vigil is held in London for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira.
Hopes fade of finding men alive
Brazilian police announced an unsettling development in the search for the two men. “Search teams found on the river, near to Atalaia do Norte, apparently human organic material,” Brazil’s federal police said in a statement.
Lago do Preguiça
Volunteers continue their search
A team of volunteer rescue workers set off from their riverside “Base Evu” to examine their latest search zone: a body of water called the Lago do Preguiça or the Sloth’s Lake.
Frustration grows with ‘inefficient’ military search
It is reported that at least 50 locals on three boats have been scouring the river and its tributaries looking for signs of the two men or the boat in which they were travelling. However, with little or no contact with the military they began to fear they were going over each other’s tracks. The military, Marubo said, should be coordinating the search and using the Indigenous guides strategically. “Why haven’t they found Dom?” asked Marubo. “Because their searches are inefficient.”
The Brazilian military carry out their search for Phillips and Pereira.
Personal items found
Rescue workers announced they had found personal items including a backpack and items of clothing near the riverside home of Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, the fisher that police had in custody and were investigating over the disappearances.
A firefighter holds a cell phone with a picture showing the moment when a backpack was found during the search. Photograph: Edmar Barros / AP
Vigil held in Rio
A vigil held for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira in Rio.
Unconfirmed reports of bodies found
British relatives of Phillips said they had been contacted by the Brazilian embassy in London on Monday morning and informed that two unidentified bodies had been found during the search operation. However, the federal police in Brazil later denied the claims. Indigenous activists involved in the search effort also said they had no information about such a discovery but believed the men’s remains would soon be found in an area of flooded forest where their search teams found some of the men’s belongings on Saturday.
Bolsonaro comments on the fate of the men
Speaking to Brazilian radio, the president said the evidence gathered by investigators suggested the two men were unlikely to be found alive. Bolsonaro said tests were being conducted on suspected human material found floating in one of the region’s rivers. “The indications are that something wicked was done to them,” he added.
Atalaia do Norte
Protests by Indigenous people
As Brazil’s far-right leader spoke, hundreds of Indigenous protesters marched through Atalaia do Norte, the riverside town from which Phillips and Pereira set off on 2 June. Carrying spears, wearing traditional dress and singing in their native tongues, the Indigenous protesters processed through the streets to demand justice and denounce the assault on Brazil’s environment and Indigenous lands that has played out since Bolsonaro took power in 2019.
Indigenous protesters demand justice for Phillips and Pereira.
Brazil envoy ‘deeply sorry’ for ‘information that did not prove correct’
The Brazilian ambassador to the UK apologised to the family of Phillips for incorrectly telling them the day before that his body had been found in the Amazon along with that of Pereira.
Police in Brazil arrest second man for ‘alleged murder’
Police in Brazil say they have arrested a second man in connection with “the alleged murder”. Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41, was arrested on Tuesday and was being held in Atalaia do Norte. In a statement, federal police said Oliveira, who is known by the nickname Dos Santos, had been arrested “on suspicion of involvement in the case” along with his brother Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, the prime suspect, who has been in custody since last week.
Lago do Preguiça
Police find two bodies in search for missing men
At a press briefing late on Wednesday, regional police chief Eduardo Fontes said one of the two men arrested in connection with the pair’s disappearance had confessed to killing them. “On Tuesday he informed us the location where the bodies were buried and he promised to go with us today to the site so we could confirm where the bodies were buried,” Fontes told reporters. The location identified by the suspect was 1hr 40min by boat from the river town of Atalaia do Norte and another 1.9 miles (3.1km) by foot into dense forest. After a day-long operation, involving the army, navy and police force, the Guardian witnessed the bodies being removed from that area, known as the Lago do Preguiça, under the cover of darkness. Escorted by army troops, they were carried by boat back down the River Itaquaí to Atalaia do Norte, where Phillips and Pereira had begun their final journey.
Source: CNN Brazil, federal police
- All-female newsroom launched in Somalia to widen media’s scope | international News
- ‘Everywhere I looked, it was like a Fellini movie’ … the youth of Odesa, photographed before the invasion | international News
- Germany urged to use pipeline threat to deter Russia over Ukraine | international News
( Information from theguardian.com was used in this report. To Read More, click here )