A military helicopter arrived in Altamira from Anapu with Rayfran das Neves Sales aboard. Sales was identified on Friday, February 18, by an eyewitness as one of the killers of the American-born, naturalized Brazilian missionary, Dorothy Stang on February 12.
Sales was arrested last night by the Armed Forces and civil and military police around 35 kilometers from Anapu.
According to civil police commissioner, Marcelo de Souza Nunes, he confessed the crime, which he said he had committed together with the hired gunman, Uilquelano de Souza Pinto, known as Eduardo.
As for who ordered the crime, the commissioner said that it will be necessary to await Sales’s statement in Altamira.
The regional commissioner in Altamira, Pedro Monteiro, also declared that only after obtaining the statement will a clearer definition of the crime be possible.
The Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, assured soon after the assassination that the government would do everything possible to punish the culprits responsible for the death of the 73 year-old missionary, Dorothy Stang, who was shot six times early Saturday morning, February 12, in Anapu, in the state of Pará.
Bastos said that the government’s reaction “must be tough and implacable.” He lamented the crime, saying that he was acquainted with the American nun and her work. Strang,
who had become a Brazilian citizen, worked together with communities of pioneers and settlers in northern Brazil, an area of violent economic conflicts, involving squatters who invade government lands.
Bastos informed at that time that he is accompanying the investigations. “What exists there is a territory in a very tense situation, in which the State is not present and in which the Ministries of Environment, Agrarian Development, and National Integration have begun to act, to transform economic activity into an organized effort rather than a predatory means of survival.
“And this is causing a huge reaction on the part of individuals who aren’t used to living in a democratic and civilized society no a society under the rule of law,” the Minister declared.
Bastos said also that he expected a quick solution, because various suspects had already been identified, and three preventive arrests had already been mandated. Since the region is immense and the searches have been hindered by the rainy weather, the government decided to send reinforcements, including an airplane.
Translation: David Silberstein