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Two Brazilians confess to murder of French soldiers in Guiana

AFP/Archives - Jody Amiet

Two suspects have confessed to killing two French soldiers during an operation against illegal gold-prospecting in French Guiana last month, Brazilian police said Saturday. The two were arrested Friday in northern Brazil after fleeing across 200 kilometres of tropical forest.

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The two, who are Brazilian nationals, have been identified as 25-year-old Manoel Ferreira Moura, nicknamed “Manoelzinho”, and Ronaldo Silva Lima, known as “O Brabo” (The Angry Man).

Moura led a violent gang of illegal gold prospectors in French Guiana’s remote Dorlin region.

After a tip-off that they were staying in a hotel in Macapa, northern Brazil, police caught them in a taxi along with a woman, Marilene Santos Fonseca, who had accompanied them on their flight across 200 kilometres of jungle in stolen canoes and quadbikes.

Moura had 5,000 dollars, a Glock pistol and a knife, while Lima had 275 dollars and a Glock.

Fonseca, who had her three-year-old son and 450 dollars with her, told police she had seen the men bury two AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles.

The two "confessed to participating in the murder of Sébastien Pissot and Stéphane Moralia"on 27 June, Brazilian police said.

Brazil last year agreed to try to prevent its citizens taking part in illegal gold prospecting in French Guiana.

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