Traditional healer and elder Olivia Arevalo Lomas of the Shipibo-Conibo Indigenous people of Peru was shot and killed at her home by an unknown assailant or assailants on 19 April 2018. Photo: Temple of the Way of Light / YouTube

22 April 2018 (CBC News) – Authorities in Peru are investigating after an Indigenous spiritual leader was shot to death, a case that local media reports say resulted in the killing of a Canadian citizen in reprisal for the murder.

Olivia Arevalo Lomas, who was 81 and from the Shipibo-Conibo ethnic group, was shot twice and died at her home in the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest on Thursday, 19 April 2018.

Arevalo Lomas was a leader in the community, an Indigenous rights activist and a traditional healer. Her killing has sparked local outrage following other unsolved murders of Indigenous activists who had repeatedly faced death threats related to efforts to keep illegal loggers and oil palm growers off Indigenous peoples' lands.

Citing a spokesperson for Peru's Attorney General, Reuters reported that some villagers had blamed Arevalo Lomas's murder on a Canadian citizen who lived in the region and who was believed to have been one of her clients. […]

On its website, the Office of Public Defender of Peru (the Peruvian Ombudsman) condemned the murder of Arevalo Lomas and said police are interviewing her relatives and possible witnesses. It also said the lives of Indigenous people are at risk with the increase in activities such as illegal logging, illegal mining and drug trafficking. [more]

Peru deaths of Canadian and Indigenous healer under investigation


By Mitra Taj; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
22 April 2018

LIMA (Reuters) – A Canadian man was lynched in the Peruvian Amazon after residents of a remote village accused him of killing an 81-year-old medicine woman a day earlier, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office said on Sunday.

Olivia Arevalo, a traditional healer of the Shipibo-Conibo tribe, was shot twice and died on Thursday near her home in the Amazonian region of Ucayali, said Ricardo Palma Jimenez, the head of a group of prosecutors in Ucayali.

Some villagers had blamed Arevalo’s murder on Sebastian Paul Woodroffe, a 41-year-old Canadian citizen who lived in the region and who was believed to have been one of her clients, said Jimenez.

Police found Woodroffe’s body buried about 1 km (0.6 mile)from Arevalo’s home on Saturday, after a cellphone video recording of the Friday lynching was shared on social media, said Jimenez.

The video shows a man groaning in a puddle near a thatched-roof structure as another man puts a rope around his neck and drags him with others looking on.

Jimenez said prosecutors were exploring several hypotheses related to Arevalo’s murder and that it was too early to name suspects in the case. No arrests had been made yet related to Woodroffe’s death, he added.

“We will not rest until both murders, of the indigenous woman as well as the Canadian man, are solved,” said Jimenez in a phone interview.

Jimenez said the man in the video was Woodroffe and that an autopsy of his body showed he died by strangulation after receiving several blows across his body.

Arevalo’s murder had prompted outrage in Peru following other unsolved murders of indigenous activists who had repeatedly faced death threats related to efforts to keep illegal loggers and oil palm growers off native lands. [more]

Canadian accused of killing Peruvian medicine woman lynched in Amazon

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