Suspect held as Brazil steps up search for missing British journalist and researcher

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(CNN)Brazilian authorities said Wednesday they person detained a fishy successful the lawsuit of a missing British writer and indigenous affairs adept -- but are yet to found whether the antheral was linked to their disappearance successful a distant portion of the Amazon.

Concerns are increasing implicit the destiny of Dom Phillips and Bruno Araújo Pereira, who were first reported missing successful the Javari Valley, successful the acold occidental portion of Amazonas authorities connected Sunday. They had reportedly received decease threats conscionable days prior.

In a quality league Wednesday, Amazonas authorities information caput wide Carlos Alberto Mansur said the fishy remains nether probe successful constabulary custody.

    Mansur said the antheral was arrested aft being recovered successful possession of "a batch of drugs" and ammunition utilized for amerciable hunting.

      Authorities said Wednesday they were pursuing respective lines of investigation, including homicide, and added they inactive "can't regularisation retired anything."

      Gen. Placido (center) speaks betwixt  Eduardo Alexandre Fontes (right), Regional Superintendent of Amazonas State Federal Police and Col. Muniz during a quality    league  successful  Manaus, Brazil, connected  Wednesday.

      Mansur noted that 5 different radical person besides been questioned by constabulary successful transportation with the disappearance of Phillips and Pereira, who had traveled to the portion to behaviour probe for a publication task connected conservation efforts successful the region.

      Ahead of the quality conference, media organizations and household members of some missing men called for the national authorities to measurement up their hunt efforts. Federal Police Superintendent Eduardo Alexandre Fontes said Wednesday that a full of 250 men, 2 helicopters, 3 drones and 16 boats person been deployed for the hunt and rescue operation.

        Phillips and Pereira person been missing for much than 72 hours, according to the Coordination of the Indigenous Organization. The organization, known arsenic UNIVAJA, said outer accusation showed the pair's past known determination successful the São Rafael assemblage aboriginal connected Sunday morning, wherever they were expected to conscionable a section person who ne'er showed up.

        A "dangerous" region

        Home to thousands of indigenous radical and astir 16 uncontacted groups, the Javari Valley -- the 2nd largest indigenous territory successful Brazil -- is simply a patchwork of rivers and dense wood that makes entree precise difficult. The country has travel nether accrued menace from amerciable miners, loggers, hunters and planetary cause traffickers exploiting its immense web of rivers.

        Missing Brazilian  indigenous affairs adept  Bruno Ara├║jo Pereira.

        On Wednesday, Federal Police Superintendent Fontes described the country wherever Phillips and Pereira went missing arsenic "complicated" and "dangerous."

        Phillips and Pereira had traveled to the portion to behaviour probe for a publication connected conservation efforts there. Phillips, an Amazon specialist, had antecedently reported for British paper The Guardian connected threats posed by amerciable mining and cattle ranchers to uncontacted indigenous groups successful the region.

        Despite being nether authorities protection, the Javari Valley tin beryllium a hostile situation for journalists and indigenous rights activists. According to Brazil's Public Prosecutor's Office, an indigenous affairs idiosyncratic was murdered successful the country successful September 2019.

        "In this region, unit is advancing successful an progressively uncontrolled mode successful the discourse of the penetration of indigenous lands and lands that beryllium to the state, repression of the state of property and the enactment of journalists," UNIVAJA said successful a statement.

          In 2018, Phillips reported connected the threats posed by amerciable mining and cattle ranchers to uncontacted indigenous groups there, with Pereira astatine the bosom of that article.

          Survival International, an NGO that advocates for indigenous peoples, said Pereira had antecedently received "many threats" arsenic a effect of his enactment arsenic an "ally of the Indigenous struggle."

          Tara Subramaniam wrote from Washington, DC. Camilo Rocha and Marcia Reverdosa reported from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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