Journalist and indigenous expert who mapped crimes in the Amazon were dismembered and set on fire, investigation confirms

Priscilla Peixoto and Bruno Pacheco – from Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – Investigations confirmed on Wednesday, 15, that one of the suspects in the disappearance of the British journalist Dom Phillips and the indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41 years old, confessed the crime to the Federal Police (PF). According to confidential sources heard by CENARIUM, the activist and the journalist were dismembered and set on fire.

The Federal Police in the state of Amazonas took Oseney to the scene of the crime early Wednesday afternoon. According to the sources, the confession came still on Tuesday night, 14, when the man was being interrogated by the police authorities. The expectation is that the bodies will still be found in the afternoon of this Wednesday, 15.

Oseney de Oliveira being taken by the Federal Police to the place where the search for the missing is being conducted (Promotion)

According to reports, Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira were sailing down the Itaquaí River near the municipality of Atalaia do Norte when they caught the suspects fishing for pirarucu in an illegal fishing area. The journalist and the indigenist, who were photographing in the area, were seized and killed in a ditch.


Bruno Araújo Pereira, 41, a indigenous expert from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and Dom Phillips, 57, a british journalist from The Guardian newspaper, disappeared in the Javari Valley, in the Amazon, while they were traveling from the riverside community São Rafael to the city of Atalaia do Norte, in the countryside of Amazonas state.

According to the Vale do Javari Indigenous Peoples Union (Univaja), Bruno and Dom were traveling in a new boat with a 40 HP engine and 70 liters of gasoline, heading to a location near the Funai Surveillance Base on the Ituí River, Jaburu Lake, so that the British journalist could conduct interviews with indigenous people for a book with an environmental theme.

After the mission, the duo returned in the morning to the city of Atalaia do Norte. According to Univaja, on the way they stopped at the São Rafael Community, so that Bruno Pereira could meet with a member of the community, known as “Churrasco”, to discuss issues related to surveillance of the region through joint work between residents and indigenous people.

When they left the community without talking to “Churrasco”, who did not go to the scheduled meeting, witnesses reported that fisherman Amarildo Oliveira, 41 years old, popularly known as “Pelado”, followed them at high speed in a speedboat shortly before they disappeared.

Bruno and Dom disappeared on June 5th (Reproduction)


On June 6, the Federal Police in Amazonas (PF-AM) began an investigation into the case of Bruno Araújo Pereira and Dom Phillips. On the same day, the Command of the 9th Naval District of the Brazilian Navy and the Government of Amazonas ordered search and rescue teams and specialized police reinforcement to be sent to the municipality of Atalaia do Norte to support the search.

Diving and aerial teams were sent by the Federal Government and the Amazonas State Government to reinforce the search. At the time, seven soldiers with the help of a speedboat operated on the Javari, Itaquaí, and Ituí Rivers, in the countryside of the state of Amazonas.

A helicopter from the 1st General Employment Squadron of the Northwest, two boats, and an aquatic motorcycle were also sent to the location, in addition to the actions of the Army, other security forces, environmental agencies, and the support of the community.


On Sunday night, 12, the Crisis Committee, coordinated by the Amazonas Federal Police (PF-AM), confirmed, through a note, that the belongings found in the region of Javari Valley were those of the indigenist and the british journalist.

“In the region where the searches were concentrated were found personal objects belonging to the missing persons, being 1 (one) health card in the name of Mr. Bruno Pereira, 1 (one) black pants belonging to Mr. Bruno Pereira, 1 (one) black slipper belonging to Mr. Bruno Pereira, 1 (one) pair of boots belonging to Mr. Bruno Pereira, 1 (one) pair of boots belonging to Mr. Dom Phillips and 1 (one) backpack belonging to Mr. Dom containing personal clothes”, informed an excerpt of the note obtained first hand by CENARIUM MAGAZINE.


The Federal Police interrogated more than 10 people and arrested one suspect, identified as Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, “Pelado”. On June 8, Amarildo’s boat was tracked by the police, who found it in the same region where the pair was last seen.

With the fisherman, a 16-caliber cartridge, a 762 rifle, and ammunition were found. The suspect was arrested in flagrante and sent to the 50th Police Intelligence Directorate to give a statement. On June 9, after the expertise of the Civil Police of Amazonas (PC-AM) found traces of blood on Amarildo’s boat, the Court of Justice of Amazonas (TJAM) decreed the temporary arrest of the man suspected of involvement in the disappearance of the pair.

Arrest was decreed during the custody hearing of Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, Pelado, and has a term of five days. (Reproduction)


The Union of Vale do Javari Indigenous People (Univaja) was the first organization to report on the disappearance. Still on Sunday, 5, community members and indigenous people started the search for the river and requested the support of the Military and Federal Police. The association played a necessary role in updating the information about the case disseminated by the press.

During this period, the Minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Luís Roberto Barroso, also spoke out on the matter and determined that the Union should be faster in the search and that it should immediately adopt “all the necessary measures” to locate the missing people. The determination complied with a request from the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), which also mobilized in the face of the fact.

On the morning of the 12th, friends and family of Bruno and Dom held events in defense of the indigenous peoples and asked for more support in the search for the indigenous activist and the journalist. The meetings were registered in Pará, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. On the social networks the subject became one of the most talked about.

Act for Bruno and Dom in Rio de Janeiro (Promotion)

Another act of mobilization was carried out by indigenous people from the Javari Valley on the morning of June 13. The initiative was also attended by activists and friends of Dom and Bruno, who were in the municipality of Atalaia do Norte, located in the far west of Amazonas, to support the search.

The demonstrators carried placards with demands for justice and more security. “You are not alone!” one of them said. While others carried the question that for more than a week has been in the most talked about topics on social networks: “Where are Bruno and Dom?”

In London, demonstrators held a vigil for the missing duo in Amazonas. With roses, rosaries, prayers and posters, demonstrators gathered in front of the Brazilian Embassy in London asking the Brazilian government to strengthen the search for the two.

Demonstration in Atalaia do Norte (Reproduction)


While the searches were being carried out, (Univaja) released documents showing the organization denouncing, in April of this year, the intense increase in invasions in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land, in the countryside of Amazonas, the region where the episode occurred. The document was addressed to the Ethnoenvironmental Protection Front and the Javari Valley Regional Coordination, of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), and to the National Public Security Force in Tabatinga.

In addition to the letters dated April, five other texts were also formulated by the Vale do Javari Indigenous Peoples Union (Univaja) and addressed to agencies such as the Federal Police, the National Indian Foundation (Funai), the National Public Security Force (FNSP) and the Federal Public Ministry of Amazonas (MPF-AM).

Document released by Univaja (Reproduction/ Univaja)

In the texts, they reported on the invasions, the climate of insecurity and threat in the Javari Valley, and requested protection from the violators. In the document dated May 6, 2022, for example, the Indigenous Peoples Union addresses the location of offenders inside and outside the Vale do Javari Indigenous Lands.

“We bring in this letter updated information from the Univaja surveillance team about invaders of our territory”, the letter informs detailing names, surnames, vessels and point of operation of the invaders.

Bruno and Dom

Bruno Araújo Pereira was known for his commitment to indigenous causes. As a servant of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), he was the regional coordinator of FUNAI in Atalaia do Norte and general coordinator of Isolated Indians and Newly Contacted Indians of FUNAI, during which time he led one of the largest contact expeditions with isolated indigenous in the last 20 years.

Bruno’s work in defense of indigenous peoples has also led to moments of conflict. In 2016, for example, the professional left his position as Funai coordinator because of an attack in which he was taken outside the Funai headquarters by armed protesters. The victim also suffered pressure and threats from miners, loggers, and even members of the rural sector.

Born in Merseyside near the city of Liverpool, english journalist Dominic Phillips moved to Brazil in 2007. Dedicated to environmental causes and an admirer of the Amazon, Dom covered stories on the subject for world-renowned newspapers such as The Guardian and The New York Times. He was currently working on a book about the Amazon forest and the invasions of indigenous lands. “Amazonia, you beautiful” was the last sentence the english journalist wrote on his social networks.

This was the second time the duo traveled through the isolated region of the Amazon. In 2018, Phillips and Bruno did the same route. The area where the fact occurred, in the Vale do Javari, and of dense complexity where 26 indigenous peoples live, some isolated. The area is close to the border with Peru and associations report the possibility of a connection between criminal agents active in international drug trafficking.


O que você achou deste conteúdo?



Os comentários são de responsabilidade exclusiva de seus autores e não representam a opinião deste site. Se achar algo que viole os termos de uso, denuncie. Leia as perguntas mais frequentes para saber o que é impróprio ou ilegal.