Indigenous farewell for an expert killed in the Amazon

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Recife (Brazil) (AFP) – Bruno Pereira, the Brazilian indigenous expert murdered in the Amazon with British journalist Dom Phillips, received a moving farewell on Friday from members of one of the tribes he had spent his life and work defending.

Dressed in loincloths and head coverings of straw and feathers, members of the Xukuru indigenous group sang funeral hymns and wept in a solemn ceremony near Recife, where Pereira was born, in the northeastern state. east of Pernambuco.

A photograph of Pereira, 41, perched on his coffin, also draped in the flag of his favorite soccer team, Sport Recife.

“It is a great loss not only for us but for all of Brazil, for those who fight to defend Mother Nature, that is to say, to defend life,” chief Marcos Xukuru told AFP.

Pereira was married and had three children BRENDA ALCANTARAAFP

Pereira and veteran correspondent Phillips, 57, disappeared on June 5 in a remote part of the rainforest plagued by illegal mining, fishing and logging, as well as drug trafficking.

“The Destroyers of the Forest”

Philips was the author of dozens of articles on the Amazon and a longtime contributor to The Guardian newspaper and other major news outlets.

He was traveling to the Javari Valley as part of a book search with Pereira as his guide, when they were ambushed.

Police say the men were shot, say indigenous groups in retaliation for speaking out against illegal fishermen in the area.

Pereira, an expert with Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency FUNAI, had received multiple threats from criminals monitoring isolated indigenous resources.

The bodies of the men were handed over to their families on Thursday.

“Today, the land where he was born welcomes him. His body finds clay, plant roots, water and warmth from the ground,” said the Peoples’ Human Rights Observatory. isolated natives, with whom Pereira had worked. in a report.

Pereira's body was to be cremated after the indigenous ceremony
Pereira’s body was to be cremated after the indigenous ceremony BRENDA ALCANTARAAFP

Pereira was killed, he adds, “by the destroyers of the forest”.

“This crime is only the tip of the iceberg of the critical situation in Brazil today, caused by the way the state deals with indigenous issues,” Vania Fialho, a 56-year-old anthropologist, told AFP. years old who attended the wake.

Pereira was married and had three children.

His body was to be cremated after Friday’s ceremony, while Phillips’ family will hold a wake and cremation on Sunday in Niteroi, near Rio de Janeiro.

Four people have been arrested for the crime so far.

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