At least three indigenous people from Peru's Amazon region were killed and 17 other residents and police injured in a conflict with Canadian energy company PetroTal Corp., Interior Minister Jorge Montoya said Sunday.
PetroTal announced it had halted operations at its production field in the Loreto region of northeast Peru, where it usually extracts about 12,000 barrels of crude daily.
The clash between local tribesmen and police occurred in the early hours of Sunday near the oil field after about 70 residents equipped with spears arrived at the scene demanding a stop to production at Lot 95, the minister said.
"We regret the events that occurred. The initial figure we have is that there are three dead residents, in addition to 11 injured. On the police side we have six injured," Montoya told local television station Canal N.
PetroTal said in a statement that "the attempted takeover" of its facilities was carried out by the same group of residents that recently invaded a station of the state-owned Petroperu pipeline, which had to stop pumping.
Representatives of the protesters were not immediately available to comment on the events.
Local indigenous rights organization ORPIO said in a statement that natives of the area demand assistance from oil companies amid an outbreak of coronavirus infections in their Amazon communities.