Lima (AFP) – Peruvian prosecutors probing the lynching of a Canadian man in a remote area in the Amazon jungle said on Thursday they had concluded he was responsible for the fatal shooting of a female shaman.
“The perpetrator of the death of the Shipibo leader was the Canadian citizen,” a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office in the Amazon town of Pucallpa told AFP.
The body of the Canadian, Sebastian Paul Woodroffe, 42, was discovered April 21 in the Ucayali region of northeastern Peru bordering Brazil, not far from where the 81-year-old indigenous shaman, Olivia Arevalo, had been killed two days earlier outside her home.
Grisly footage of Woodroffe’s death at the hands of a mob circulated on social media.
In the video, a man is seen trying to put a black rope around the neck of another man slumped in a puddle with blood on his face who tries — unsuccessfully — to fight him off. “Please, no!” he mumbles in Spanish, as someone can be heard saying: “You asked for it.”
Prosecutors had said the cause of Woodroffe’s death was strangulation, noting there was also evidence of multiple other injuries.
Woodroffe had been living in the area for about two years and had acquired 20 hectares (50 acres) of land there, Peruvian media said.
Inca said gunpowder found on the Canadian’s clothes was “the main proof” that he shot Arevalo.
“The motives of the murder cannot be known. He is already dead. The only thing that has been determined is who killed the lady,” the spokesman said.
The prosecutors’ office said two men suspected of being involved in Woodroffe’s lynching — both members of Arevalo’s community — were being sought, with rewards of $6,200 for each of them.
Within her Shipibo-Konibo community, Arevalo was a healer widely revered for her knowledge of traditional medicine who was believed to have special powers.