Peru Deploys Troops in Rebel Hostage Standoff

By Dialogo
April 13, 2012

Peru deployed 1,500 troops to cordon off a remote area where 36 gas transportation workers have been taken hostage, allegedly by the Shining Path rebel group, the Defense Ministry said on April 11. The Ministry said in a statement that the operation was aimed at “isolating the narcoterrorists,” referring to the Shining Path, a guerrilla movement that was largely dismantled more than a decade ago. The Ministry also added that the armed forces and the national National Police had established a joint command, but that “caution and discretion is required in a case of this delicate nature.” The government had earlier declared a state of emergency in the Echarate district of the southeast Cusco region, where the workers were being held. The workers include 28 people employed by the Swedish company Skanska and eight from Construcciones Modulares, according to the Swedish firm. Peruvian news reports have said the kidnappers are seeking a $10 million ransom. The workers were reportedly approached by an armed group that handed out leaflets and forced them to chant slogans, said Raul Donayre, an official from Transportadora de Gas del Peru, a contractor for the two companies.