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Attack against pipeline recorded in Peru's Amazonian region on November 27

Reports indicate that on November 27 a militant attack against the Norperuano (ONP) pipeline, owned by state-owned Petroperú, took place near the Mayuriaga indigenous settlement located in the Morona district, in the Amazonian region of Loreto. The attack caused an oil spill measured in at least 8,000 barrels, further spreading to the Mayuriaga River which is connected to the Amazon River. Authorities have since warned of an impending environmental disaster. Sources indicate that indigenous militants were responsible for the attack, citing grievances over municipal elections held on October 7. On November 17 at least 20 oil workers stationed in drilling facilities in Morona were kidnapped, and subsequently released on November 22, by assailants who threatened to attack oil infrastructure in the region unless new elections took place. Reports indicate that indigenous activists prevented Petroperú workers from attempting to contain the oil spill. According to Petroperu sources, at the time of writing oil production in the Amazonas, carried by Canadian contractor Frontera Energy, remains shut.

Indigenous groups have persistently threatened to attack Peruvian oil infrastructure, harassing oil workers conducting different tasks. Official sources indicate that at least 15 attacks took place since 2016 alone. Despite previous threats, while authorities have seemingly failed to take action to secure the area surrounding the Morona district, the Amazonian region is hard to reach by land, difficulting any further attempt to shield the pipeline from indigenous militancy. Moreover, although in 2016 Petroperú engaged with the indigenous community at Mayuriaga in an attempt to appease locals by pledging to improve their living standards, activist sources continue to express grievances and disfranchisement toward authorities for not involving indigenous communities in key decisions surrounding oil activities in their lands. In light of the circumstances and geographical impediments posed by the Amazonian region, subsequent attacks threatening oil interests cannot be ruled out.

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