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Fears for safety of British journalist missing in Brazilian

Dom Phillips disappeared on a trip to one of the remotest corners of the Amazon days after receiving threats

Fears are growing over the safety of a British journalist and a Brazilian Indigenous expert who have disappeared in one of the remotest corners of the Amazon just days after receiving threats.

Dom Phillips, a longtime contributor to the Guardian in Brazil, was last seen over the weekend in the Javari region of Amazonas state – a vast region of rivers and rainforests near the border with Peru.

The reporter was traveling with Bruno Araújo Pereira, a former government official tasked with protecting Brazil’s uncontacted tribes, who has long received threats from the loggers and miners seeking to invade their lands.

Phillips, who is working on a book about the environment with support from the Alicia Patterson Foundation, is based in the Brazilian city of Salvador and has been reporting on Brazil for more than 15 years for newspapers including the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Financial Times.

On Monday local Indigenous leaders sounded the alarm after the two men vanished during a reporting mission into the network of rivers around the town of Atalaia do Norte, the entry point into the Javari reserve.

In a statement, the Indigenous group Univaja said Phillips and Pereira had set off last week by boat for a region known as the Lago do Jaburu, reaching their destination on Friday evening.

At about 6am on Sunday, after two days reporting, the pair are thought to have started returning by river to Atalaia do Norte. The journey should have taken no more than three hours but a search party was sent out at about 2pm after they failed to arrive.

The Univaja statement said the men had received threats in the days before their disappearance, although offered no more specific details.

A spokesperson for Guardian News & Media said: “The Guardian is very concerned and is urgently seeking information about Mr Phillips’ whereabouts and condition. We are in contact with the British embassy in Brazil and local and national authorities to try to establish the facts as soon as possible.”

Phillips had joined one of Pereira’s expeditions to the same region in 2018 to report on the lost tribes of the Amazon for the Guardian.

He is known for his love of the Amazon region and has travelled there extensively to report on the crisis facing Brazil’s environment and its Indigenous communities.

“Amazônia sua linda (Amazonia you beauty),” the journalist wrote last week on Instagram alongside a video of a boat meandering down one of the region’s rivers.

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