Peru's Shining Path rebels demand $10 million in ransom for hostages


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.



Shining Path rebels who kidnapped a group of gas workers in southern Peru on Monday demanded $10 million in ransom for their release, reported BBC News. They also demanded explosive detonators and other equipment from energy companies working out of the remote jungle region.

More from GlobalPost: Peru: Shining Path rebels kidnap gas workers

Most of the abducted workers are employees of Skanska of Sweden and the Peruvian company Ransa, according to the Associated Press. They were building a new gas treatment plant when they were rounded up around 3 a.m. on Monday from their hotels. The rebels are said to have lingered for three hours after taking the gas workers, buying groceries from local merchants and assembling about 20 residents to voice their opinions against the government and the natural gas industry. 

Government forces are operating in a remote jungle region fraught with drug trafficking to rescue the hostages, reported Reuters. There were conflicting reports from police, military, corporate and government sources about how many hostages were being held or if any of them had been freed. Some say up to 40 are still being held by the Shining Path rebels, while others say all but eight have been freed.

The Shining Path rebels are part of a major Maoist group that challenged the Peruvian state in the 1980s and early 1990s. The group has now been reduced to small bands involved in cocaine trafficking. According to BBC News, the group's last major leader, "Comrade Artemio," was captured in February.