Indigenous group in Peru’s Amazon frees detained tourists
The Cuninico indigenous group, from the Urarinas district in Loreto province in Peru’s Amazon rainforest, had held the passengers – which included citizens of France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and Peru – to raise awareness about the oil spillage in a local river, according to local media.
“We were just all freed, we have boarded a boat and are on our way to (the city of) Iquitos,” one of the freed tourists, Peruvian Angela Ramirez, told Reuters news agency on Friday.
Peru’s independent public defender agency said on Twitter that “after dialogue with the (head) of the Cuninico communities, our request to release people was accepted”.
Local media outlet RPP said none of the tourists was harmed during the protest.
The chief of the indigenous group, Watson Trujillo, said all the tourists had departed along the Maranon River just after midday on Friday onboard the vessel named Eduardo 11, which had been held since the day before by residents of Cuninico, Al Jazeera reported.
The passengers were en route to Iquitos, the main city in Peru’s Amazon region, he said.
He also said the people of Cuninico would continue protests – and blocking the passage of river boats – until the government gives them concrete help to deal with the pollution affecting their community.
“We have seen ourselves obliged to take this measure to summon the attention of a state that has not paid attention to us for eight years,” he told The Associated Press by telephone.