Dom Phillips was last seen with Bruno Pereira on Sunday in the Sao Rafael region of the Amazon rainforest.

Search for missing British journalist Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira intensifies

Brazilian officials are investigating traces of blood found in the ongoing search for a British journalist and an indigenous expert as Hollywood celebrities, sports stars and lawmakers issue urgent calls for action to find the men.

Dom Phillips, who was a regular contributor to The Guardian and The Washington Post, and Bruno Pereira were last seen on Sunday in the Sao Rafael region of the Amazon rainforest where they disappeared after crossing a lawless region in boat.

Now two men who were with the couple a day before their disappearance said on Thursday they had tried to signal authorities for help after being threatened by three local fishermen who had pointed their guns at them a day before their disappearance.

Paulo Marubo, president of an association of indigenous peoples in the Javari Valley, Univaja, said Phillips took a photo of the men at the time, including local resident Amarildo da Costa, who is considered the main suspect of the couple’s disappearance.

Dom Phillips was last seen with Bruno Pereira on Sunday in the Sao Rafael region of the Amazon rainforest.
Dom Phillips was last seen with Bruno Pereira on Sunday in the Sao Rafael region of the Amazon rainforest.
AFP via Getty Images

After being threatened by locals, the two men who were with Phillips and Pereira said the couple drove to a nearby federal base to seek help from officials.

The base permanently houses the office of the Brazilian Bureau of Indigenous Affairs, known as FUNAI, as well as National Guard police officers.

“We went there but they didn’t do anything,” said Raimundo Mayoruna, one of the men who was with Phillips and Pereira the day before they disappeared. “They didn’t prosecute Pelado at all. They didn’t want to help us.

Navy sailors search for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira on a speedboat in Brazil's indigenous Javari Valley, June 9, 2022.
Navy sailors search for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira on a speedboat in Brazil’s Javari Valley indigenous region, June 9, 2022.
PA

CALLS TO ACTION

Actor Mark Ruffalo, soccer legend Pele and US President Joe Biden are among notable names urging the Brazilian government to step up efforts to find the men who went missing on Sunday.

The ‘Shutter Island’ actor took to Twitter to call for an “international response”, highlighting the worrying number of journalists “attacked, killed or missing”.

“We need an international response to this. The tendency for journalists to be attacked, killed or disappeared in right-leaning ‘democracies’ must be exposed,” Ruffalo said. tweeted.

Football superstar Pele said he was “moved” by the disappearance of Phillips and Pereira, as he called on officials to step up search efforts.

“The fight for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest and indigenous groups belongs to all of us,” said the multi-Ballon d’Or winner. tweeted.

“I am moved by the disappearance of Dom Phillips and Bruno Ferreira, who dedicate their lives to this cause. I join the many voices calling for more research.

Brazilian actress Camila Pitanga also expressed himself about the ordeal on Twitter, writing: “WHERE IS BRUNO AND DOM? @govbr @DefesaGovBR and @policiafederal, Bruno and Dom have been missing for over 48 hours and we need ALL resources to find them ASAP.

“The contempt for environmental activists must end.”

On Thursday, President Biden met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Los Angeles to discuss what is being done to find the missing men.

As the couple met for emergency interviews, two trucks parked in the middle of an avenue showed illustrations of Phillips and Pereira, alongside the message “THREATENED. NOW MISSING. WHERE ARE DOM & BRUNO?

Several US lawmakers called for action on Twitter, including Senator Ed Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I am troubled by reports that Brazil’s Bolsonaro wants to avoid discussing deforestation in the Amazon and efforts to undermine the integrity of Brazil’s upcoming elections at the Summit of the Americas this week. The United States must press him. on both issues,” he said. tweeted.

CASE DETAILS

Police found blood on a boat belonging to local fisherman da Costa, who was stopped and questioned by cops.

On Thursday, officials said a forensic officer and state police were checking the boat for “possible genetic material” containing bloodstains to see if it belonged to a human or an animal.

A volunteer diver helps Navy men search for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira in the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory on June 9, 2022.
A volunteer diver helps Navy men search for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira in the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory on June 9, 2022.
PA

Da Costa, also known as “Pelado” in his community, was charged with unlawful possession of restricted ammunition.

Police said he was one of the last people to see the two missing people and suspected he was involved in illegal fishing for a buyer in Peru.

In their search for the two missing men, officials say they are focusing on those involved in illegal fishing and poaching on indigenous lands.

Police are investigating six other people in connection with Phillips and Pereira’s disappearance.

Pereira – who recently received threats for his work fighting illegal fishing – and Phillips, were on a reporting trip to the Javari Valley, a remote jungle area near the Peruvian and Colombian border, when they went missing .

The area often sees illegal hunters and fishers pass through, according to police.

Phillips, who has reported from Brazil for more than a decade, has been working on a book about preserving the Amazon.

Phillips has also contributed to The Washington Post and The New York Times. He currently resides in Salvador, a city in the Brazilian state of Bahia, with his wife, Alessandra Sampaio.

With post wires

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