Paul McAuley, a British environmental activist and missionary was found dead in Peru. He used to fight against oil companies’ invasion in the Amazon.
The burnt body of Paul McAuley, a 71-year old British environmental activist and Catholic missionary, was found in the Amazon city of Iquitos on Tuesday.
His body was found in a shelter house he founded for Indigenous students, "La Salle," located in the district of Bethlehem (Iquitos). Some students informed the police after finding the body.
Authorities are questioning six Indigenous men who lived in the hostel.
McAuley was a Catholic brother of the De La Salle teaching order. He moved to Peru in 2000 to support the Indigenous activists and set up an association Red Ambiental Loretana.
Peru ordered his expulsion in 2010 after he helped Amazon tribes to fight against oil and gas companies invading their natural habitat.
He was also a vocal critic of British companies’ presence in the rainforest.
Due to his activism, he was called, “Tarzan activist”, “white terrorist” and “incendiary gringo priest.”
“More than its oil, what the west needs are the Amazon’s spiritual energy,” he said.
The police are considering this a criminal case but suicide is also not being ruled out.
"We noticed the body when we were walking around. We want to investigate because he, who has dedicated so many years to us and has given us everything, has been murdered. Yesterday we were talking together and today we see this painful scene," said one of the Indigenous students.
The Environmental Investigation Agency, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) said, “He fought peacefully for Indigenous rights and forests in Peru… his death should be investigated. Rest in peace, Brother Paul, we will continue the fight.”
Peru’s Episcopal conference along with other environmental groups also paid homage to McAuley.