Canadian man lynched in Peru after being accused of healer’s brutal murder

A Canadian man was lynched in the Peruvian Amazon after villagers accused him of killing an 81-year-old medicine woman.

Olivia Arevalo Lomas, a traditional healer of the Shipibo-Conibo tribe, was shot twice and killed on Thursday.

Sebastian Paul Woodroffe, a 41-year-old Canadian citizen who lived in the region and who was believed to have been one of her clients, was killed the next day.

Ms Lomas was murdered near her home in the remote Amazonian region of Ucayali, prosecutor Ricardo Palma Jimenez said.

Police found Woodroffe’s body buried about 1km from her home yesterday, after a brutal cellphone video recording of the Friday lynching was shared on social media.

The horrific video shows a man groaning in a puddle near a thatched-roof structure, as another man puts a rope around his neck and drags him with others looking on.

Mr Jimenez said prosecutors were exploring several theories related to Ms Arevalo Lomas’s murder and that it was too early to name suspects in the case.

No arrests have been made in relation to Mr Woodroffe’s death.

The prosecutor said: "We will not rest until both murders, of the indigenous woman as well as the Canadian man, are solved."

Mr Jimenez confirmed the man in the video was Woodroffe and that an autopsy of his body showed he died by strangulation after receiving several blows across his body.

Ms Arevalo Lomas’s murder had prompted outrage in Peru, following other unsolved murders of indigenous activists who had repeatedly faced death threats related to efforts to keep illegal loggers and oil palm growers off native lands.

She was described by Peru’s Ministry of Culture as a "wise woman" who retained "traditional knowledge of the Shipibo-Konibo people".

Policing is scant over much of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon and villagers in far-flung provinces often punish suspected criminals according to local customs and without the involvement of state police and prosecutors.

Canada’s foreign relations office has not responded to requests for comment.

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