38 hostages released in Peru
Tupac Amaru issues statement demanding comrades be freed
December 20, 1996
Web posted at: 9:10 p.m. EST (0210 GMT)
LIMA (CNN) - Peruvian rebels Friday evening freed 38 hostages
from the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, where some
400 people have been held since Tuesday by leftist
The hostages, including many who appeared to be healthy,
walked away from the residence Friday evening, suggesting
some sort of agreement had been reached between the rebels
and the government, said CNN's Lucia Newman.
The terrorists Thursday released four hostages for medical
Among those freed Friday were Peru's Brazilian ambassador, the Korean ambassador and the Egyptian ambassador.
The Brazilian ambassador said they were released to establish
communications between the rebels and the government.
At least 25 men were seen walking out of the compound into
the street escorted by Red Cross officials. One of them was
being pushed in a wheelchair. Red Cross mediator Michel
Minning said 38 victims were being freed in total.
Television floodlights and photographers' flashes lit up the
night as the group came to freedom.
The release came shortly after the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary
Movement that controls the ambassador's residence issued a
statement that says they will not be satisfied merely with
the public attention they have gained from the hostage
"The decision has been made. The people who are held inside
the residence will only leave if our imprisoned comrades are
also freed," the statement said.
"If the government insists on keeping silent and does not
take our demands into account, or if it brazenly attempts to
assault the diplomatic residence, it alone will bear the
political responsibility for what happens to the people
inside the residence."
The statement threatened rebel attacks as well on "other key
targets in the country" if President Alberto Fujimori tries
forcibly to take the mission, which was seized during a gala
international reception Tuesday night.
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