The Wampis community of Mayuriaga in Peru's Amazon has taken at least eight government officials hostage and is demanding assistance from the Peruvian government after an oil spill caused by a faulty pipeline, Reuters reports:
A rupture in Petroperu’s 40-year-old pipeline spilled 1,000 barrels of oil in Mayuriaga on 3 February, nine days after a leak in the same duct poured 2,000 barrels near eight other indigenous communities in the same Amazonian region.
Environmental regulator OEFA ordered Petroperu to replace parts of the pipeline after repeated leaks in recent years. It said the two most recent spills polluted at least two rivers, including a tributary to the Amazon river.
State-owned energy company Petroperu owns the pipeline. The government had excluded the indigenous community from a list of groups who would be offered emergency assistance and supplies, according to the Reuters report—an error which the government has now said they would correct. "It's a mistake that should be corrected as soon as possible," Deputy Culture Minister Patricia Balbuena told the news agency.
The Peruvian government's environmental agency, OEFA, told BBC News the company could be fined up to $17 million if there locals suffer from adverse health affects as a result of the spills. The company said the initial leak, which released 2,000 barrels of oil, happened after a landslide, but did not specify the cause of the most recent spill.