Dom Phillips: Third man arrested by police investigating Amazon killings

But family and friends are said to fear a cover-up after police said suspects were not acting on orders from anyone else

<p>Indigenous leader Kamuu Wapichana during a protest calling on authorities to expand search efforts for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira last week </p>

Indigenous leader Kamuu Wapichana during a protest calling on authorities to expand search efforts for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira last week

A third suspect has been arrested by police in Brazil investigating the deaths in the Amazon of British journalist Dom Phillips and expert on indigenous peoples Bruno Pereira.

Police said on Saturday afternoon that Jefferson da Silva Lima, known as Pelado da Dinha, had turned himself in at the police station in the far western town of Atalaia do Norte.

Two other men are already in custody for alleged involvement in the killings: Amarildo Oliveira, known as Pelado, and his brother, Oseney de Oliveira, known as Dos Santos.

Phillips, 57, was reported missing on 5 June and was confirmed dead on Friday following forensic tests on human remains found on the banks of the Itaquai river. Additional remains found at the same site have not yet been identified, but are expected to belong to Pereira, 41.

The latest arrest comes as family and friends of the two men are said to fear that there may have been a cover-up in relation to the killings.

Federal police said on Friday that the suspects had acted alone – a statement that appeared to be intended to draw a line under the case, despite suspicions that the killings may have been ordered by a criminal group or parties with a vested interest who were angered by Phillips’s investigations into illegal logging in the Amazon.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Phillips’s sister, Sian Phillips, said his family had been aware there were risks, but that her brother had underplayed them.

“I think he was a leading light in journalism; he was shining a light on an area which is a global problem,” she said.

She added that she was sure the pair were attacked by people “involved in illegal fishing”, but said she now wanted to know whether the suspects were acting alone or with the involvement of “other powerful people”.

Her husband Paul Sherwood said that there were links between illegal fishing, drug trafficking and organised crime in the region.

Experts say that the whole Javari Valley area – home to around 20 uncontacted tribes – has become a hotbed for crime because of its remoteness and a lack of government oversight.

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian's global environment editor and a long-time friend of Phillips, said he had died in "an undeclared global war against nature and the people who defend it".

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in