Conflicts & War

Peruvians protesting oil spill hold dozens captive

Lima, Nov 4 (EFE).- Around 100 passengers aboard a boat traveling on the Marañon River in northeastern Peru are being held captive by indigenous people demanding action to clean up an oil spill, an official told EFE Friday.

The travelers were intecepted en route from Yurimaguas to Iquitos, according to the spokesman for the Loreto regional branch of the national ombud’s office, Cesar Ormeño.

He said that the residents of the indigenous community of Cuninico are also preventing the passage of launches carrying food and other goods to Iquitos, the regional capital.

Representatives of the national ombud’s office are on their way to Cuninico to try to resolve the impasse, Ormeño said, adding that officials are concerned because the captives include Peruvian national team cyclist Angela Ramirez and other competitors headed to a race in Iquitos.

In a telephone call to RPP Noticias radio, Ramirez said that she is accompanied by 15 cyclists – 10 of them from the United States – and that French, Swiss, German, Spanish, Brazilian and British nationals are among the hostages.

Delegates from the central government are to meet Friday with leaders of indigenous communities affected by the oil spill, Ormeño said.

Cuninico residents began blocking the Marañon River early last month to protest authorities’ failure to remedy the damage done in September by an accident on the North Peru Pipeline.

The community leaders warned that starting Nov. 1, they would block river traffic between Yurimaguas and Iquitos. EFE mmr/dr

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