Workers kidnapped in Peru

Around 60 workers of an Argentinian firm building a gas pipeline in southern Peru were taken hostage late on Monday by gunmen  demanding a million dollars for their release. The kidnappers  threatened to kill the hostages if a rescue attempt was made.

Maoist Shining Path rebels may be
behind the hostage crisis

A police statement read on national television said they had threatened to begin executions with three police officers allegedly being held.

Defence Minister Aurelio Loret De Mola said eight of the hostages were foreigners. A police spokesperson said the captives included Argentine, Colombian and Chilean nationals.

The police statement said the kidnappers were “presumed members of the Maoist organisation Shining Path”.

Apart from the million dollars, the kidnappers wanted 500 boxes of explosives, percussion caps, fuses, 60 field radios and medicine, including antibiotics.

The defence minister said 60 armed people attacked a workers’ camp of the Argentine firm Techint and abducted the workers.

Techint’s office in Lima only said it had been a victim of a “violent episode” without revealing further details.

The Shining Path rebels rose up in 1980 and were the most feared group in Latin America. It sought to topple the government and install a communist leadership. It was weakened considerably after Peruvian police captured its founder Abimael Guzman in 1992.

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