Investigations indicate that the motivation for the crime was the victims’ actions against illegal activities in the region
On Wednesday afternoon (15), sources from the Federal Police (PF) reported that the brothers Amarildo Oliveira, alias “Pelado”, and Oseney de Oliveira, alias “Dos Santos”, executed the indigenist and licensed Funai server Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Philips.
Pelado confessed to having participated in the crime, but claims that someone else shot Dom and Bruno.
So far, investigations indicate that the motivation for the crime was the victims’ actions against illegal activities related to hunting and fishing in the region, including in indigenous territories.
On April 4, Bruno sent a complaint to the PF and to the MPF (Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office) in Tabatinga, Amazonas, in which he warned about a criminal organization active in Vale do Javari, involved in illegal fishing and hunting.
As published by the newspaper O Globo, Pereira mapped the area for the authorities, including an indication of the location and photos of those involved in the criminal organization. Among them were Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, known as Pelado, and his brother, Oseney da Costa Oliveira, known as Dos Santos.
Also according to the newspaper, the monitoring of the indigenist in the place would have bothered a drug trafficker identified as Rubens Villar Coelho, known as “Colombia”, who has dual Brazilian and Peruvian nationality.
“He uses the sale of animals to do money laundry from drugs produced in Peru and Colombia, which border the Vale do Javari region, sold to criminal factions in Brazil. There is suspicion that he would have ordered Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, aka Pelado, to put ‘Bruno’s head up for auction'”, it was published.
Bruno continued to denounce risks in the region and even informed Univaja (União dos Povos Indígenas do Vale do Javari), on 5/31, about death threats.
The location seems to be strategic for mining, illegal hunting and fishing and drug trafficking. And this criminal network still seems to involve political figures.
In a live interview with Globo News, PF delegate Alexandre Saraiva said that “criminals who work in the Amazon region finance parliamentarians from the ‘crime bench’”.
“I have here a collection of letters from senators from the various states of the Amazon, which they sent to my boss asking, saying that I was going beyond the limits of the law and that I was committing quality abuse. There was a senator with a logger threatening me. We have to be aware, because it was never easy for the Amazon. Because look at the Central, a good part of Centrão’s parliamentarians are financed by these groups. Absolutely sure. I’ll name names: Zequinha Marinho, was there with Ricardo Salles, in the Handroanthus [operation], Telmário Mota, Mecias de Jesus, Jorginho Melo, from Santa Catarina, sent a letter, Carla Zambelli, went there to defend the logger together with Ricardo Salles, that is, we have a gang of crime, a gang of, in my opinion, of criminals, of criminals”, he said.
In the region where the two disappeared, homicides increased by 507%, according to data compared to 2021 by the Amazonas Public Security Department itself.
The delegate sees the government’s connivance with predatory criminals in the Amazon rainforest. One example is the 2020 Handroanthus operation, which confiscated 131,100 cubic meters of logs on the border between Amazonas and Pará.
The then Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, went to the region to provide support to the loggers and Saraiva even presented a crime report against Salles in the STF (Supreme Federal Court).
After the initiative, the delegate officer was exonerated and removed from the Amazon.
Bruno acted in 2019 in Operation Korubo, which faced mining in Vale do Javari and destroyed 60 ferries that operated illegally on the Jandiatuba River.
After the operation, the miners increased the pressure on Funai, articulating the dismissal of civil servants who were leading actions of this magnitude in the Amazon, as reported by Uol.
Military presence in institutions
As previously reported on the Central website, the presence of the military in organizations linked to indigenous peoples grows more each year. Apib (Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil) collected data indicating that, by 2021, almost 60% of the managements of these units were occupied by active and reserve military officers, a situation that refers to the times of the dictatorship in the country.
The Funai regional office in Vale do Javari, where Dom and Bruno disappeared, is one of the few units without a military man. But in 2021 it was under the command of Army Reserve Lieutenant Henry Charlles Lima da Silva, who in July of that year advocated “setting fire” to isolated indigenous people as a conflict resolution. He was exonerated four months after this unfortunate pronouncement.
The organization Indigenistas Associados has also warned for some time that “the Ethnoenvironmental Protection Bases in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land are a recurring target, with at least eight recorded episodes of the use of armed violence against workers and indigenous people in these places since 2018.
Bolsonaro has guilt
The investigations of Bruno and Dom’s disappearance were marked by morosity and counter-information by the government, in addition to Bolsonaro’s statements that trivialized and blamed the victims.
Considering this revolting event, CSP-Conlutas reinforces its denunciation of the Bolsonaro government’s extermination policies that encourage criminal practices such as illegal mining, fishing, hunting and logging, which destroy the environment, decimate native peoples and those who fight for social causes.
Our solidarity to Bruno and Dom’s families. This struggle belongs to all of us!