Several wooden boats glide silently through the flooded jungle of the Javari Valley. The natives who take part in the research are convinced that it is a question “on time” or of ” day “ before finding the trace of the two missing in the Brazilian Amazon.
“We are looking for them from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.” since June 5, explains to Agence France-Presse the agricultural engineer Orlando de Moraes Possuelo, who coordinates the research which was joined, a day later, by the army and the federal police after strong international pressure. “Research is done by boat, rowing, without engine, most often in the igapos, these areas of the jungle which remain marshy after the flood” of the river once the heavy rains have absorbed, he said. In the non-flooded areas, the natives, who belong to five different ethnic groups, roam the muddy ground on foot, cutting their way with machetes through thick vegetation.
The research is tedious and takes place in a tense climate across this immense border region with Peru and Colombia, where some 19 isolated indigenous groups live and where multiple drug trafficking, fishing or illegal gold panning are deployed. But these volunteer rescuers are convinced that it will soon show results.
The investigation progresses
Especially after the discovery, on Sunday, of personal effects of the two missing: backpack, boots, clothes, found immersed near the house of Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, the first suspect arrested and who denies any involvement. The police found a trace of blood on his boat and the “apparently human-like organic matter”. They are being analyzed.
A second suspect, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, was arrested on Tuesday, he is the brother of the first suspect. “The search is already focused on a small area (…) We believe that in the next few days or hours we will be able to find the rest of the belongings, possibly the boat, and probably the bodies”says Orlando de Moraes Possuelo, who has given up hope of finding them alive.
He does not rule out the possibility that the disappearance of Phillips and Pereira is linked to illegal fishing activities for large Amazonian fish, such as pirarucu. Bruno Pereira helped the natives “to fight against this predatory fishing”he says.
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