Ten American tourists taken hostage by an Indigenous group protesting oil spills on Thursday have been released.
According to the Independent, they were among a group of 248 people held hostage aboard a riverboat in Peru.
In addition to the Americans, 228 Peruvian nationals and some British, Swiss, Spanish and French nationals were on the boat and were captured, CBS News reported.
“We were just all freed. We boarded a boat and are on our way there [the city of] Iquitos,” freed Peruvian tourist Angela Ramirez told Reuters on Friday. According to Reuters, a local media outlet reported that none of the hostages were injured.
The detainees were taken by members of the local Cuninico community to draw attention to complaints about an oil spill in September, according to ABC News.
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The Peruvian authorities said on Twitter that “after dialogue with the [head] of the Cuninico communities, our request for the release of people was accepted.”
“The right and respect for life must come first,” said Watson Trujillo Acosta, one of Cuninico’s leaders.
Trujillo Acosta said the hostage situation was a “radical move” to get the government to assess the environmental damage from September’s oil spill, which spilled 2,500 tons of crude oil into the Cuninico River.
Ramirez said the kidnappers were respectful and told them: “[the sooner] the government responded… to their request, the sooner the group would be released.”
American hostage Lon Haldeman sent a statement to CBS during the incident, saying, “The villagers are peaceful towards us, but they took over the boat with spears and clubs.”
“Nobody had guns. We parked near an island last night and the villagers took the battery out of the boat motor. The captain and drivers are being held in a village jail. The village wants to keep the big boat for ransom.”
A British tourist who was among more than 100 people taken hostage by a machete-wielding indigenous group in Peru had revealed the grim conditions they endured before their release. Around 120 tourists, including British and Americans, were detained#Tourist #Persons #Hostage #Group pic.twitter.com/7tuKXGx2dM
— Shahryar Sultan (@Shahryar_Sultan) November 5, 2022
Haldeman said the hostage-takers were demanding “medical assistance and clean water and food” after the oil spill.
According to the nonprofit Earth Rights International, oil spills have polluted the waterways Cuninico uses for drinking and fishing, Fox News reported.
https://www.westernjournal.com/americans-seized-held-hostage-environmental-protesters/ Americans Seized, Held Hostage by Environmental Protesters