Burnt body of British activist Paul McAuley found in Peru hostel

The burnt body of a British activist who worked with Peru’s indigenous communities has been found in the youth hostel he ran.

Paul McAuley, 71, worked to strengthen the tribes who were discriminated against in the battle against powerful oil and mining trusts.

He was found dead on Tuesday at the youth hostel he ran in the Amazon rainforest.

La Salle Christian Brothers, the religious order Mr McAuley belonged to, said his body had been burned.

Mr McAuley was born in Portsmouth and moved to Peru in 1995.

In 2010, Peru’s government tried to strip him of his residency for allegedly inciting unrest after he fought attempt to open up the Amazon to drilling. Their attempt was unsuccessful.

Authorities are questioning six indigenous young people in he hostel he managed in Iquitos.

In 2004, Mr McAuley founded the Loreto Environmental Network, a group that works on behalf of indigenous groups.

As well as opposing attempts to drill in the Amazon, he and others complained that President Alan Garcia’s government had not done enough to stop logging, which they said threatened the existence of indigenous groups.

Diócesis de Chosica said Mr McAuley had worked on coastal projects and had sought to raise money to support students to ensure they would not have to quit their courses.

They called him the “voice of the jungle”.

Julia Urrunaga, director of Peru programs in the Environmental Investigations Agency, tweeted: “It was fascinating to be around hermano Paul McAuley and see the positive impact that he had on the young indigenous leaders around him, supporting and inspiring a peaceful fight for their rights and their forests.

“He made many friends, but also powerful enemies. Rest in peace, we continue with the struggle.”

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