Tourists held by Peruvian indigenous group protesting oil spill are freed, says official

The content originally appeared on: CNN

CNN

A group of tourists traveling in the Peruvian Amazon, who were detained on Thursday by an indigenous community demanding government action over an oil spill, will be released Friday, Abel Chiroque, head of the ombudsman office in Loreto, told CNN.

“We have been in touch with the leader of the Cuninico community… and they have accepted our request to release the passengers onboard the boats,” Chiroque said.

An estimated 150 tourists, believed to include American and British citizens, were traveling down the Mara?on river in Cuninico of the Loreto region, Angela Ramirez told Peruvian local media RPP. The 28-year-old Peruvian is one of the tourists being held by the indigenous community.

Wadson Trujillo, leader of the Cuninico community, confirmed to RRP that his community stopped the boats in a bid to pressure the government to take action over the oil spill, which has disrupted their water supply. They are demanding the government declare a state of emergency over the oil spill.

Chiroque said three boats were being held by the community. While the passengers will be let go, the other boats carrying food and animals will stay, he added.

Ramirez told RRP the detained group included Spanish, French, American and British citizens. Children, pregnant women and the elderly were also being held, she told CNN. CNN has contacted Peru’s Interior Ministry for comment.

Estimates for the number of people detained have ranged from 70 to 150. Among those held are 20 foreigners, said Peru’s National Police.

Peru’s ombudsman office in Lima announced the release on social media, while also calling for the continued dialogue between the Cuninico community and government’s representatives.