(JustPatriots.com)- On Thursday, a group of tourists traveling in the Amazon rainforest was taken hostage aboard a riverboat by a tribe of indigenous people in the northernmost province of Peru protesting the lack of government aid after a recent oil spill. By the following day, the protestors began releasing them.
Watson Trujillo, the leader of the Cunincio community told a local radio outlet that they had taken hostage about 70 people, both foreigners and Peruvians to get the government’s attention. In reality, the number exceeded 240 people.
The total number of hostages was later confirmed to be 248, 228 of whom were Peruvian citizens.
The tourists also included citizens from the United States, Spain, Great Britain, France, and Switzerland. Local radio reported the hostages included an infant, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
The hostages spent the night inside the riverboat as it moored along the Marañón River while Trujillo awaited a response from the government. According to the captors, the hostages would be held for between six to eight days until a deal is reached.
One of the hostages, Ángela Ramírez, posted on her Facebook page that her captors are “KIND AND RESPECTFUL” to the hostages and this was the “only way they have found to look for solutions for the community.” She said the quicker her captors hear from the government, “the quicker they will let us go.” She also urged her Facebook followers to share her post, adding that the hostages were “physically fine.”
Trujillo said the “radical measure” was taken as a way to pressure the government to review the environmental damage caused after 2,358 tons of crude oil leaked into the Cuninico River.
On Friday, it was reported that the hostages were all being released but the circumstances on the ground were “fluid.”
According to the US State Department, ten Americans were among the hostages.