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Five more arrested in Brazil for the murders of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira | Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira

Brazilian police have arrested five more people in connection with the murder of a British journalist Bishop Phillips and on Saturday, Brazilian local activist Bruno Pereira and one of the suspects already in jail said he was the leader of an illegal fishing mafia based in the Amazon region.

They gave few details, police said three of those arrested were detained Phillips and Pereira were wanted for helping to bury the bodies in operations near Brazil’s borders with Peru and Colombia.

All three are linked to Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, one of three men charged last month with the double murder, in a case that shocked the world and underscored growing insecurity in the heavily forested region.

Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41, went missing in the western Javari Valley. Brazil On June 5, at the end of the visit, Phillips arranged to present a book on sustainable development. Phillips has written for the Observer and the Guardian as well as other publications.

A former official of Brazil’s local indigenous agency, Pereira knew the area well and assisted the Briton in his research.

The men were ambushed early one morning while going down the Itaguai River in their boat. Police believe the assailants shot them dead and then took their bodies to the jungle where they buried them in a hastily dug grave.

However, two of the suspects confessed to the crime and led the police to the place where they buried their bodies.

Police believe the killers were concerned Pereira had photographs and evidence of fishing in areas restricted to endangered species, including turtles and the arapaima, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish.

A single piraru can fetch up to $1,000 in markets in Brazil and Colombia, and police believe criminal mafias partner with impoverished local fishermen to poach the animals, often off-limits to outsiders in local reserves.

They arrested a man last month for using fake IDs and said Saturday they identified him as Ruben Dario da Silva Villar, AKA “Colombia.”

Police found “strong indications that he is the leader and financier of an armed criminal organization dedicated to the practice of illegal fishing in the Javari Valley of Colombia.” [and] is responsible for the sale and export of large quantities of fish,” the federal police said in a statement.

Local news from Silva Villas provided boats, motors and bait to local fisherman.

Local activists in the region welcomed the news with “great joy” and said it was “the beginning of justice”.

A lawyer for Univaja Indigenous said the arrests, especially in Colombia, confirm their original thesis that the killings were not carried out by individuals working alone, but with the cooperation or orders of the local mafia.

“There has been a criminal organization operating in the Javari Valley for a long time and today’s investigation, operation and arrests only reinforce this,” said Eliesio Marubo, Univaja’s lawyer. “So we feel represented. This is the beginning of justice for our brutally murdered friends.”

“It reinforces the need for state involvement in an area that the state has abandoned,” he said.

The investigation is ongoing.

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