Lima: Peruvian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the apparent lynching of a Canadian national thought to have shot dead an indigenous leader in a remote area of the Amazon.
The man’s body was found by police on Saturday, the public prosecutor’s office wrote on Twitter, without giving his name or saying how he died, although officials said it appeared he had been lynched.
Prosecutors confirmed his death “was linked to the murder of Olivia Arevalo, a member of the indigenous Shipibo-Konibo community”.
Arevalo, a respected community leader and rights activist who was 81, was shot dead near her home on Thursday in the Ucayali region of northeastern Peru.
According to a local rights group, a man with a foreign accent went to her home and when she opened the door, he opened fire at short range before fleeing on a motorcycle, with police saying the main suspect was a Canadian national.
A day later, they found his body buried nearby.
“We want to see if this person who was buried… is the same as the person who appears in a video on social media [and] was killed,” prosecutor Ricardo Jimenez said at the weekend.
Footage widely circulating on social media appeared to show a man aggressively trying to put a rope around the neck of another man in shorts who is slumped in a puddle and who tries, unsuccessfully, to fight him off.
“It appears that he took part” in Arevalo’s murder, Jimenez said.
The government had on Friday sent various officials to the region to investigate Arevalo’s murder.
There are some 31,000 ethnic Shipibo-Konibo people living in Peru’s Amazon jungle region.
This is not the first such murder.
In September 2014, four leaders of the indigenous Ashaninka people were killed in the Ucayali region which borders Brazil after illegal loggers and drug traffickers had threatened them.