70 tourists including Brits and Americans are being held hostage by indigenous tribe on boat in Amazon rainforest
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Featured Image Credit: RPP Noticias/John Warburton-Lee Photography/Alamy Stock Photo
A group of 70 tourists including Brits and Americans are being held hostage by an indigenous tribe in the Amazon rainforest.
Local reports state that people from the Cuninico community in the Loreto province, situated in northeast Peru, have detained the tourists on a river boat as a protest against repeated oil spills in the Cuninico River.
Watson Trujillo, the leader of the Cuninico community, told RPP radio: "[We want] to call the government's attention with this action – there are foreigners and Peruvians, there are about 70 people."
In September, 2,500 tons of crude oil was leaked into the river, impacting several indigenous communities as well as the surrounding environment.
State-owned oil company Petroperú said at the time that the spill had been a result of 'intentional' damage to a pipeline which runs between the Amazon rainforest and Peru's desert coast.
Petroperú said in a statement: "Police authorities and Petroperú were able to verify that the oil leak that spread across the Cuninico River and reached the Marañón River on Friday was the result of an intentional tear of 21 centimetres in the pipeline."
After an emergency crew was sent in to assess and deal with the issue, the firm said that 'the cut was sealed to contain the hydrocarbon'.
Cuninico representative Galo Vásquez told the press: "Six communities do not have water to drink or to prepare their food."
This particular pipeline, often abbreviated as the ONP, has ruptured a number of times in recent years.
The incidents are part of a wider concern about the Amazon rainforest, as tropical rainforests are often referred to as the 'earth's lungs'.
Peru is home to the second largest section of the landscape after Brazil's, which was recently found to be emitting more carbon pollution than it sucks in.
A study also revealed that between 2010 and 2019, the Amazon released 16.6 billion tonnes of CO2, however it only managed to suck up 13.9 billion tonnes in return.
This marks a worrying shift in the planet's ability to heal itself and keep up with human impacts.
As for the recent oil spill in Peru, in order to place pressure on the government to send experts to assess the damage, Trujillo said that the community had no choice but to take the 'radical measure'.
Among those who are detained include tourists from the Spain, France, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
Trujillo went on to say that the group would spend the night inside the boat before returning the vessel today (4 November) to assess the situation, although some reports suggest they could be held between six and eight days.
UNILAD has contacted the Foreign Office for comment.