Foreign tourists on Peru boat demo freed

A Peruvian indigenous group has freed a group of tourists held for more than 24 hours in a protest over what the community alleged to be government inaction over toxic oil spills.

The Cuninico indigenous group, from Peru's Amazon rainforest, had held an estimated 150 tourists - including citizens of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and France - to raise awareness about the oil spillage in a local river, according to local media.

"We were just all freed, we have boarded a boat and are on our way to (the city of) Iquitos," one of the freed tourists, Peruvian Angela Ramirez, told Reuters.

Peru's independent public defender agency said on Twitter "after dialogue with the (head) of the Cuninico communities, our request to release people was accepted".

"The right and respect for life must prevail," Watson Trujillo, the chief of the indigenous group told local media, which said none of the tourists were physically harmed.

Media reports cited the number of people being held as ranging from 70 to as many as 300, including between 17 and 23 foreign nationals.

The UK's foreign ministry said in a statement it was in contact with local authorities regarding a "very small number of British nationals involved in an incident in Peru".