- Locals from a Peruvian area of the Amazon rainforest have reportedly taken up to 150 tourists hostage.
- Those detained reportedly include citizens from the US, UK, Spain, France, and Switzerland.
- Locals took the hostages in protest of repeated oil spills plaguing the region, RPP Noticias reported.
Locals from an Indigenous tribe in a Peruvian area of the Amazon rainforest have taken up to 150 tourists, including Americans, hostage in protest of repeated oil spills plaguing the region, according to a local report.
Ángela Ramírez, who was among those taken hostage on Thursday while traveling by boat near Cuninico in the Loreto province of Peru, told local media that those taken captive include elderly people, pregnant women, and a one-month-old baby.
“They told us that it was because they wanted attention from the state, in search of a solution for oil spills that have happened 46 times, which led to the death of two children and a woman,” Ramírez told RPP Noticias.
The people being held include Peruvian nationals as well as citizens from the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Switzerland, Ramírez told the news outlet.
The woman said that it has been indicated that the hostages could be held for up to eight days. No one had been harmed.
Ramírez’s mother, Araceli Alva, told RPP Noticias that her daughter had been traveling with cyclists through the Peruvian jungle last week. Ramírez decided to leave by boat via the river on Thursday and was taken, Alva said.
Ramírez issued a plea on her Facebook story, saying, “The sooner they’re heard, the sooner they’ll let us go. Help me share, we are well physically. Help me help them be heard,” according to the news outlet.
Watson Trujillo Acosta, the leader of the Cuninico community behind the action, told RPP Noticias that the tourists were taken hostage “in a radical and indefinite manner” in order “to be able to attract the attention of the government.”
“They are in a safe place on the banks of the Marañón River gorge in front of the native community of Cuninico,” said Acosta, who claimed 70 tourists and nationals were taken, according to the news outlet.
Acosta said that his community is seeking “a state of emergency [to] be declared due to the constant [oil] spills that have been taking place in our territory.”
He also wants the Peruvian government to lead an investigation into the matter.
The US Department of State and Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the situation by Insider on Friday.