Three people were arrested earlier, but now five more people have been identified who allegedly helped hide the bodies, reports the BBC. Phillips and Pereira went missing on June 5 during a business trip to the remote Javari Valley in the far west of Brazil.
Their bodies were identified on Friday after one of the detained suspects, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, allegedly admitted to burying their remains. He also took the police to a place deep in the rainforest where the remains of the journalist and his companion were found.
His brother Oseney da Costa de Oliveira was also arrested, but he denies any involvement in the murder. On Saturday, suspect Jefferson da Silva Lima was arrested who first escaped but later surrendered to police.
Five suspects allegedly helped hide the body
The Brazilian newspaper O Globo reports that five new suspects allegedly helped hide bodies in a hard-to-reach area that police probably would not have found without the suspect's instructions Costa de Oliveira.
Police did not provide the names of the new suspects or details about them. Police said on Saturday that Phillips and Pereira were shot with a shotgun and that a journalist was shot once and a Brazilian expert three times.
Dom Phillips wrote for the Guardian and went to Brazil to research for a book on the Amazon region. Pereira was with him because of his extensive knowledge of Brazil’s indigenous communities, and he had once been Phillips ’guide and contact.
The Javari Valley region to which the two traveled is home to thousands of indigenous people from more than 20 groups living in isolation from the outside world. The area is also known for illegal fishing, mining, logging and drug trafficking.
Violent clashes between various criminal groups, government agents and the indigenous population are known to occur there, and were reportedly documented by Phillips and Pereira. Human rights groups say Pereira received death threats before the trip.
The sister of Phillips has said her brother knew the risks of traveling to perilous regions of the Brazilian Amazon but continued to report from the area because he was committed to telling the story of Indigenous people and the fight for development models that may save the rainforest.
Sian Phillips said her brother believed his work on a book called How to Save the Amazon was “urgent”. “I think he underplayed the risks to some extent but we knew that there were risks,” Sian told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
“This was the final trip [for his book]. This was the trip with Bruno to give the story of the Indigenous people living in the Javari valley and to give their story,” she said.