More than 100 tourists who had been kidnapped by members of an indigenous tribe in the Peruvian Amazon a day earlier to protest what they deemed government inactivity following an oil disaster were released on Friday, according to officials. There were several kids among the arrested tourists, who came from the United States, Spain, France, Britain, and Switzerland, and about 80 people from Peru itself.
Reporters in Lima were told by tourism minister Roberto Sanchez that “they are already going back to their regions of origin.” The tourists, who were in a riverboat, were abducted on Thursday by locals in Cuninico who were demanding government intervention after a September 16 spill of 2,500 tonnes of crude oil into the Cuninico river.
Watson Trujillo, a community leader, said on Thursday that the group had taken the “extreme move” in an effort to persuade the government to send a delegation to inspect the environmental harm in a region that is home to some 2,500 Indigenous people.
The Cuninico “accepted our request to free” the visitors, according to Friday’s statement from the human rights ombudsman’s office in Peru. The vacationers’ fellow rider from Peru, Angela Ramirez, subsequently informed AFP through WhatsApp, “They are liberating us all.”
The Norperuano oil pipeline, controlled by the state-owned Petroperu, which carries crude oil from the Amazon region to the ports of Piura on the coast, burst in September, resulting in the spill.
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