part of rainforest in Peru

70 Tourists Including Brits And Americans Are Being Held Hostage By Indigenous Tribe On Boat In Amazon Rainforest

In alarming and concerning news, an Amazon rainforest community is holding tourists hostage in a section of the forest in Peru. And as it turns out, among the 70 captive people, there are Brits as well as Americans. People from a tribe native to the rainforest are behind the incident, claiming they are furious about the constant oil spills. According to multiple reports, the tourists were going on a leisure boat ride on the river, when people from Cuninico in the Loreto province boarded the vessel and hijacked it. The nationalities of the tourists vary with most coming from mainland Europe, including France, Spain, The United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Some are also from The United States and Peru.

The leader of the community, Watson Trujillo, spoke to Radio Programas de Peru about the tourists held hostage. “We want to call the government’s attention to this action, there are foreigners and Peruvians, there are about 70 people.” Community members further mentioned that they will hold the tourists captive for 6-8 days until the Peruvian government sends a delegation to take note of the damage a broken oil pipeline has caused. According to Trujillo, the broken oil pipeline also led to the deaths of a woman and a couple of children in the community. [1]

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The boat on which the tourists are being held hostage.
Image Credits: RPP Noticias

One of the tourists held hostage is Angela Ramirez, a Peruvian who is completing a cycle tour around the country. She went on Facebook to post, “We are in Cuninico an indigenous community of the Jungle, we are hostages of the community, as there were 46 oil spills, which caused the death of 2 children and 1 woman. They are kind and respectful to us, but it is the only way they have found to look for solutions for their community. The quicker they are heard, the quicker they will let us go. We’ve been here since 10 am they took the boat and took the battery. Help me share, we’re physically fine. Help me help them to be heard.” [2]

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The Cuninico Community Has Tourists Held Hostage Over Oil Spill

The next day, she stated, “We spent the night here. We hardly have any water to drink anymore. The sun has risen and is strong. There are babies crying, the youngest is 1 month old. We have pregnant women, disabled people, and the elderly. Now we don’t have light to charge the cell phones or water to wash ourselves. Help me.

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The protesters who are carrying out the deed.
Image Credits: RPP Noticias

The oil company whose pipeline broke causing the tragedy is Petroperu- a state-owned company. The official statement was, “Police authorities and Petroperu were able to verify that the oil leak that spread across the Cuninico river and reached the Maranon River on Friday was the result of an intentional tear of 21 centimeters in the Pipeline.” The company sent an emergency crew to fix the damage. After this, the firm commented that ‘the cut was sealed to contain the hydrocarbon.’ Another representative of the community, Galo Vasquez said, “Six communities do not have water to drink or to prepare their food.”[3]

Despite the community having tourists held hostages, one cannot deny that their problem is Just as alarming and significant. This pipeline- which is usually referred to as the ONP- has ruptured quite a few times over the last couple of years. Needless to say, such events are disastrous for the Amazon rainforest. A spokesperson from the FCDO, after the news broke, stated, “We are in contact with the local authorities and a very small number of British nationals involved in an incident in Peru.

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Sources:

  1. “Brits among 70 tourists held hostage in Peru by tribe on boat in Amazon rainforest” The Mirror. November 4, 2022.
  2. “British tourists among 70 held hostage by Amazonian tribe in PeruThe Standard. November 4, 2022.
  3. “70 tourists including Brits and Americans are being held hostage by indigenous tribe on boat in Amazon rainforest” UNILAD. November 4, 2022.
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