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Britons among 70 boat passengers detained by group in Peru, local media report says

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Boat passengers – including British tourists – are being detained by a community group in the Peruvian Amazon in protest over a lack of government action to tackle oil spills in a river, according to a local media report.

The gang – thought to be members of an indigenous community – from the Urarinas district in Loreto province, said their action was aimed at drawing attention to the issue, Peruvian news outlet RPP Noticias reported.

It reported that 70 passengers, including foreign nationals from the UK, US, Spain, France and Switzerland, were being held after travelling in river boats.

These include a one-month-old child, people with disabilities and pregnant women, the report said.

The protesters claim two children and a woman have been killed in the area due to oil spills from a 40-year-old pipeline in the Cuninico River.

Community members have told local media they plan to hold the tourists for around six to eight days.

Officials have travelled to the area to deal with the dispute.

One of the foreign nationals being held reportedly raised the alarm on Facebook.

“The faster they are heard, the faster they will let us go. Help me share, we are physically fine. Help me help them be heard,” she wrote on Facebook.

Communities in the area had already been blocking vessels on the river in protest.

The latest oil spill of an estimated 2,500 barrels into the Cuninico River reportedly took place on 16 September.

The 500-mile-long oil pipeline is owned by state-owned oil company Petroperu, which said in a statement at the time that the spill had been the result of “intentional” damage.

The pipeline, which transports crude oil from the Amazon region to Piura, on the coast, has been the site of several oil spills in recent years.

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