Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Possessions of missing men tied up under water found in Amazon

Possessions Of Missing Men Tied Up Under Water Found In Amazon

Brazil’s search for an indigenous expert and a journalist who disappeared a week ago in a quiet area of ​​the Amazon has progressed with the discovery of a backpack, laptop and other personal belongings of the men living in a river is submerged.

The items were found Sunday afternoon and were transported by Federal Police officers by boat to Atalaia do Norte, the nearest city to the search. In a statement Sunday night, police said they had identified the items as the belongings of both missing men, including a health card and clothing from Bruno Pereira, the Brazilian indigenous expert.

The backpack, identified as belonging to freelance journalist Dom Phillips of Britain, was found tied to a tree that was half under water, a firefighter told reporters in Atalaia do Norte. It is the end of the rainy season in the region and part of the forest has been flooded.

The development came a day after police reported finding traces of blood in the boat of a fisherman arrested as the only suspect in the disappearance. Officers also found organic material of apparent human origin in the river. The material is analyzed.

Search teams that found the laptop and other items on Sunday concentrated their efforts around a spot in the Itaquai River where a sail from the boat used by the missing men was found Saturday by volunteers from the Matis Indigenous group.

“We used a small canoe to go to the shallow water. “Then we got a sail, shorts and a spoon,” one of the volunteers, Binin Beshu Matis, told The Associated Press.

Fighting for control

Pereira, 41, and Phillips, 57, were last seen on June 5 near the entrance to the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia. They returned to Atalaia do Norte by boat alone on the Itaquai, but never arrived.

This area has experienced violent conflicts between fishermen, poachers and government agents. Violence has grown as drug trafficking gangs fight for control of waterways to transport cocaine, although the Itaquai is not a known drug trafficking route.

Authorities said a mainline of the police investigation into the disappearance pointed to an international network that pays poor fishermen to catch illegally in the Javari Valley Reserve, which is Brazil’s second largest indigenous territory.

One of the most valuable targets is the world’s largest freshwater fish with scales, the arapaima. It weighs up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) and can reach 3 meters (10 feet).

The fish is sold in nearby cities, including Leticia, Colombia, Tabatinga, Brazil and Iquitos, Peru.

A known suspect

The only known suspect in the disappearances is fisherman Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, also known as Pelado, who was arrested. According to reports by natives who were with Pereira and Phillips, he swung a gun at them the day before the pair disappeared.

The suspect denies any wrongdoing and says military police tortured him to try to get a confession, his family told The Associated Press.

Pereira, who previously headed the local bureau of the Brazilian government’s indigenous agency known as FUNAI, has been involved in several operations against illegal fishing. In such operations, as a rule, the fishing gear is seized or destroyed, while the fishermen are fined and detained for a short time. Only the indigenous people can fish legally in their areas.

“The crime’s motive is a personal feud over fisheries inspection,” Atalaia do Norte mayor Denis Paiva speculated to reporters without providing further details.

Associated Press had access to information shared by police with indigenous leadership. But while some police, the mayor and others in the region linked the couple’s disappearances to the “fish mafia”, the federal police did not rule out other investigations, such as drug trafficking.

Fisherman Laurimar Alves Lopes, who lives on the shores of Itaquai, told Associated Press that he stopped fishing within the indigenous area after being detained three times. He said he endured beatings and starvation in prison.

Lopes, who has five children, said he only fished near his home to feed his family, not sell.

“I made a lot of mistakes; I stole a lot of fish. If you see your child dying of hunger, go get it where you need it. So, I’ll go there to steal fish to support my family. But then I said: I’m going to put an end to this, I’m going to plant, ”he said during an interview on his boat.

Lopes said he was taken to the local federal police headquarters in Tabatinga three times and charged with being beaten and left without food.

In 2019, Maxai official Maxciel Pereira dos Santos was shot dead in Tabatinga in front of his wife and daughter-in-law. Three years later, the crime remains unsolved. His FUNAI colleagues told Associated Press they believe the murder is related to his work against fishermen and poachers.

Rubber tappers have established all the riverbank communities in the area. In the 1980s, however, rubber tapping declined and they used to woodcut. It also ended when the federal government created the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory in 2001. Fishing has since become the most important economic activity.

An illegal fishing trip to the vast Javari Valley takes about a month, says Manoel Felipe, a local historian and teacher who also served as a councilor. For every illegal invasion, a fisherman can earn at least $ 3,000.

“The fishermen’s financiers are Colombians,” Felipe said. “In Leticia, everyone was angry with Bruno. This is not a small game. It is possible that they sent an armed man to kill him. “

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news