Deep within the Amazon rainforest, it has been reported that a British journalist and a Brazilian expert on Indigenous peoples have gone missing. This comes after the organisation that employs the Indigenous peoples expert stated that it had received threats for its work monitoring illegal mining and fishing in the area.
Dom Phillips, a freelance reporter for the British news company The Guardian, and Bruno Arajo Pereira were the last people seen early on Sunday morning as they were cruising in a boat on the Itaqua River in the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas, which is close to the border with Peru.
There is no sign of either the guys or their boat, according to the search crews that were made up of local indigenous people. Late on Monday, both the Brazilian Army and the Brazilian Navy reported that they were in the process of sending search parties to the region. The Brazilian Army said that they intended to send search parties.
Mr. Phillips, who is 57 years old, went in the isolated territory to conduct interviews with Indigenous people who were patrolling the area for illicit miners and fishermen on behalf of a group known as Univaja. The material was going to be used for a book that Mr. Phillips was planned to write on the Amazon, according to The Guardian.
He was travelling with Mr. Pereira, who had worked with the Univaja patrol squads before, at the time. According to a press release issued by Univaja, those teams had lately been under attack in the region due to the job that they were doing, notably within the previous week. The group also said that it has informed the local police about some of the threats that were made.
An official with the Observatory for the Human Rights of Isolated and Recently Contacted Indigenous Peoples, which is another Indigenous advocacy group that works with Univaja, stated that Mr. Pereira was well known in the region because for years he had led the efforts of the Brazilian government to protect the Indigenous tribes that were located there. Univaja is a group that advocates for the rights of Indigenous people.
Violence has been a problem in the Amazon for decades, and it has been stoked by individuals on both sides of the debate over whether or not the jungle should be exploited for financial gain. In recent years, there has been a rise in deforestation in the region of Amazonas, which is one of the most dangerous sections of the jungle. Mr. Phillips and Mr. Pereira went missing in this region. The guys were last spotted in the vicinity of a region that borders Brazil, Colombia, and Peru and is known for its prevalence of drug trafficking.
Late on Monday, Brazilian journalists and Indigenous activists voiced their disapproval of the efforts being made by the authorities to locate the missing men. One of the primary reasons for their criticism was that it appeared the authorities had not yet utilised a helicopter, which could be extremely helpful in locating the men in such a vast and remote area. The army also first said, late on Monday, that it had not received authority to launch a search team. However, just after 7:30 p.m. local time, the army announced that it would begin sending out search teams.
On Tuesday, the search being conducted by the navy would reportedly include the deployment of a helicopter. A spokesperson for the army said that the only vehicle they had in the region was a speedboat, and that it would take some time to acquire a helicopter from Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas, which is around 1,100 kilometres away.
According to information obtained from a satellite communication device, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Pereira had halted near the Itaqua River in preparation for a meeting that was scheduled at six in the morning. Sunday, Univaja stated. They were last spotted moving downstream on their boat from the location in question. They were supposed to arrive at the little city of Atalaia do Norte at eight in the morning, but they were late.
In spite of the fact that the location is a confusing labyrinth of rivers and Mr. Pereira “has great knowledge of the region,” Univaja stated that it is possible to get disoriented in the area. According to Univaja, the guys were making their way on a brand-new boat that included a motor with 40 horsepower as well as 70 litres of fuel, which was sufficient for the voyage.