Home Latin America Canadian accused of murder is lynched in Peruvian Amazon

Canadian accused of murder is lynched in Peruvian Amazon


A Canadian man was lynched in the Peruvian Amazon, after he was accused by members of an indigenous community of killing a local spiritual leader.

Police found Sebastian Woodroffe's body after video of his lynching on Friday was shared on social media, Peruvian prosecutors in Ucayali said.

Officials had launched a search for the 41-year-old after the murder of Olivia Arévalo, 81, near her home.

The Shipibo-Conibo tribe's healer was shot twice and died on Thursday.

"We will not rest until both murders, of the indigenous woman as well as the Canadian man, are solved," Ricardo Palma Jimenez, the head prosecutor in Ucayali told Reuters.

Some members of the Shipibo-Conibo community in the north-eastern region had blamed the indigenous rights activist's death on the Canadian national who lived in the area and was believed to have been one of her clients, Mr Jimenez said.

It is not yet known when Mr Woodroffe arrived in the area or what he was doing there.

Ms Arévalo's murder sparked outrage in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, as it followed a number of unsolved murders of indigenous activists who had repeatedly faced death threats stemming from their efforts to keep illegal loggers and palm oil growers off native lands.

The authorities were exploring several hypotheses related to the traditional healer's murder but said it was too early to name suspects in the case.

There have also been no arrests in relation to Mr Woodroffe's death, whose body was found buried about 1km (0.6 mile) from Ms Arévalo's home on Saturday.

Video footage found by the police shows a man groaning in a puddle near a thatched-roof structure. Another man then puts a rope around his neck and drags him while onlookers stand by.

Mr Jimenez confirmed the man in the video was Mr Woodroffe and that an autopsy revealed he was strangled to death after receiving several blows to his body.

Policing is thin over much of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon, with villagers in far-flung provinces often punishing suspected criminals according to local customs and without the involvement of state police and prosecutors.

Canadian authorities extended its "deepest condolences following the reported assassination of Olivia Arévalo Lomas, an indigenous elder and human rights defender".

Without confirming any identity, they also said in a statement that they were aware of a killed Canadian national and were providing consular services to the person's family.

Original Article


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