Rebels hold 36 workers hostage in Peru

2012-04-11 13:14

Lima - Thirty-six workers who provide services to a gas transportation company are being held hostage in Peru by suspected Shining Path guerrillas, one of the companies that employ the workers reported on Tuesday.

The report contradicted an earlier police statement saying most of the kidnapped workers, with two different companies, had been freed.

"There were 28 workers from the Swedish company Skanska and eight from the company Construcciones Modulares who were kidnapped," Armando Fabbri Garcia, Skanska's human resources manager, told AFP.

Last week, police in the Cusco region in south-eastern Peru that includes the town of Kepashiato, where the kidnappings took place, reported that 23 kidnapped workers had been released.

Fabbri Garcia said the police reports were incorrect. He also said the kidnappers delivered written demands.

"I'm not allowed to go into detail on the document," he said.

Peruvian news reports have said the kidnappers are seeking $10m to free the hostages.

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 whose employees were kidnapped.

The Shining Path was largely dismantled in the mid-1990s after its leaders were sent to prison but not before a conflict that left about 70 000 people dead, according to Peru's Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. However, remnants of the guerrilla group still operate in remote regions of Peru.

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