Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Office has announced the indictments of Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, and Jefferson da Silva Lima for the double homicide of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira. The two victims, a British journalist and a Brazilian indigenous expert, disappeared in the remote western Amazon in early June.
While Amarildo da Costa Oliveira and Mr. Lima confessed to their involvement in the crime, Oseney da Costa Oliveira’s participation in the murders was concluded by way of witness statements and other submitted evidence.
Prosecutors say the killings were motivated by an event one day prior to the crime, when Mr. Phillips took photographs of the suspects’ boat, used in the illegal fishing of pirarucu fish and river turtles. Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, nicknamed “Pelado,” had had a number of prior disagreements and altercations with Mr. Pereira, who worked alongside local indigenous groups to thwart poaching on protected lands.
Mr. Pereira was shot three times, including once from behind, with hunting-style ammunition. Mr. Phillips was shot once in the chest.
A frequent contributor to The Guardian newspaper, Mr. Phillips was on a research trip in the vicinity of the Vale do Javari indigenous territory — an area plagued with crime and violence.
Tensions in the region have not cooled since.
Earlier this week, members of the Brazilian Indigenous Foundation (Funai) were confronted by armed gold miners close to where last month’s murders occurred.