Divers find backpack and laptop in remote Amazon where Dom Phillips disappeared

Brazilian firefighters say divers have found a backpack and laptop in a remote part of the Amazon where British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira went missing a week ago.

The backpack was tied to a tree that was half submerged, a firefighter told reporters in Atalaia do Norte, the town closest to the search area, near the indigenous area of ​​the Javari Valley. It is high water season in the region and part of the forest is under water.

Federal police officers brought the items by boat to Atalaia do Norte later on Sunday afternoon.

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A federal police officer takes photos of a seized boat during the search for British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous Affairs expert Bruno Araujo Pereira (Edmar Barros/AP)

The local indigenous association, with which Pereira was working at the time of his disappearance, confirmed that the firefighters’ divers had found a backpack, but could not immediately say who it belonged to. The area has only poor riverside communities where equipment such as laptops is rare.

Earlier, police found traces of blood in the boat of a fisherman who has been arrested as the only suspect and organic material of apparently human origin in the river. Both materials are being forensically analyzed and more details were not provided.

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Army, navy, civil defense, state police and indigenous volunteers have been deployed in the search (Edmar Barros/AP)

Mr Pereira, 41, and Mr Phillips, 57, were last seen at the entrance to the indigenous area, which borders Peru and Colombia. They returned only by boat on the Itaquai River to Atalaia do Norte, but never arrived.

Violent clashes have occurred in that area between fishermen, poachers and government officials. Violence has increased as drug gangs compete for control of the waterways to transport cocaine, although the Itaquai is not a known drug route.

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