Hostage tourists released by Peruvian native communities
Over 150 foreign tourists held in boats sailing along the Yurimaguas route, on the Marañon River in Peru were released Friday afternoon, it was reported.
The travelers had been taken hostage at around 10 am local time Thursday by members of the Cuninico native community to protest to demand a solution to the impacts of an oil spill that occurred Sept. 16. The Cuninico and other neighboring native communities decided to block the transit of all types of boats on the Marañón River.
”We maintained contact with the apus (leaders) of the native community of Cuninico, who as a protest retained approximately 150 people and we asked them to reestablish free transit. An agreement was reached an hour ago so that they could continue their journey by means of a transfer, and minutes were taken to record (the release), Abel Chiroque, of the Ombudsman’s Office in Loreto, told reporters.
Regarding the oil spill in the area, Chiroque argued that these events were to be investigated by the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office. The latter sent us a response on the investigations they are carrying out on the attacks suffered by the Norperuano oil pipeline.
Among the hostages were people from Spain, USA, UK, France, and Switzerland, including children and pregnant women, according to local media reports.
Energy and Mines Minister Alessandra G. Herrera Jara said on Sept. 24 that her office had declared an environmental emergency in the area where some 2,500 indigenous people live, but she also pointed out that the cut that caused the oil spill was not due to the deterioration of the Norperuano Pipeline, but that it had been the result of human action.
The company operating the pipeline had spoken of an intentional tear of 21 centimeters. Petroperu reported ten attacks on its pipeline in Loreto since January, which caused oil spills.
We are on our trip from Yurimaguas to Iquitos we had to stop and they tell us that we have to be 6 or 8 days here, a German traveler was quoted as saying.
The blockade on the Marañón river had been announced by eight communities near the Cuninico creek affected by the oil spill.
Watson Trujillo, apu of the Cuninico community, explained that this drastic measure” was decided so that the government would send a delegation to evaluate the environmental damages caused by an oil leak, which caused the spill of approximately 2,500 tons of crude oil.