Tourists held by Peruvian indigenous group protesting oil spill are freed, says official
The latest attempt to free the tourists from the Peruvian group, who have been held for more than a month by indigenous activists blocking a pipeline to a giant oil company, has failed.
Local police told the Guardian that on Tuesday morning the five tourists and a British man held captive by members of the Yanomami tribe were still being held by them.
The four Britons and a Peruvian national, who were freed in the early hours of Tuesday, were then re-captured by Yanomami activists a few hours later.
The five Britons remain in detention overnight.
The Guardian has learnt that Peruvian police attempted to get the five out of the Yanomami camp at dawn on Tuesday, but without success.
The tourists were held in the village of Atapuco, north of the capital, Lima, by local indigenous activists who blocked a pipeline to a giant oil company.
A Peruvian police spokesman said on Tuesday the five tourists, the British national who was with them, and a Peruvian, were being held by the Yanomami community.
“The five people were freed at a local police station,” officer Alejandro Saldaña told the Guardian. “The other two were taken to the police station and the police officer who freed them is in charge of the investigation.”
He said there was no sign of the Americans or the British in the Yanomami camp at the time.
Saldaña said police had been trying to persuade villagers to let some of their young men travel with the tourists to see them off. “The decision was taken to send five [young men] to take them to the city,” he said. “They left at 5am [local time] in a bus with no escort.”
Peru is one of the world’s biggest crude oil producers, but its vast reserves are increasingly under threat as some of its most important oilfields are depleted.
The Yanomami, part of a large indigenous group, have been occupying the village and have set up camp, blocking the pipeline to the giant oil company, Petropiar, saying they had a right