Peru: Shining Path rebels kidnap gas workers


A rickshaw taxi drives past a graffiti reading "Freedom for Abimael Guzman" in a neighborhood in the south end of Lima on September 16, 2011. Abimael Guzman, 76, is the historic leader of the bloody Maoist group Shining Path and serves a life sentence for terrorism. Rebels reportedly from the Shining Path kidnapped at least a dozen gas workers on April 9, 2012.



Rebels suspected to be members of Peru's Shining Path have kidnapped at least a dozen people working on a natural gas project, said the BBC.

The rebels were demanding the release of "Comrade Artemio" also known as Florindo Flores, in return for the hostages, said local media.

The workers were part of the Camisea natural gas project in the southern region of Cusco, according to the BBC. The project development was designed to bring natural gas from the Amazon across the Andes to consumers throughout Peru.

Reuters reported that between 10 and 20 workers were seized in an attempt to thwart the army from capturing the rebels, citing military and gas company sources.

The Peruvian army captured Artemio in February, and President Ollanta Humala has vowed to stamp out the rest of Shining Path, according to Reuters.

The majority of the insurgency's Maoist founders were captured in the early 1990s during a civil war, so the group no longer poses a threat to the stability of the Peruvian government.

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The faction led by Artemio included only 22 other members, according to The Economist. Artemio has been locked up in Callao, home to the Shining Path's founder Abimael Guzman since 1992.

The Shining Path is heavily dependent on cocaine trafficking for its financing, so much so that some political analysts now view it as merely a drug gang, but it has attempted to register a legal political party in Peru as well. Humala's approval rating rose by five points to 59 percent after the capture of Artemio, as the Shining Path is hated for its role in the murder of tens of thousands of people in the 1980s and early 1990s, said The Economist.

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