LIMA, Peru (AP) — An indigenous group in northeast Ecuador says it has detained 11 soldiers who were travelling through its territory in a canoe amid tensions with the government over land and mining disputes.
The Kichwa de Sarayaku have posted a statement on their website reporting the detention, saying the soldiers "were called to a dialogue to know their actions" in the Sarayaku territory. It says the soldiers' rights are protected.
President Rafael Correa told reporters Tuesday that the detention amounts to an illegal kidnapping.
The Kichwa say they acted in the context of a national emergency declared by Correa after members of another indigenous group attacked a Chinese mining site they say encroaches on their territory.
The Kichwa statement says the emergency decree "threatens the existence, peace and liberty of indigenous peoples."