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Hostages Released From Peruvian Police Station Barricade

January 06, 2005  | 

About 125 members of an armed nationalist group overtook a police station in the remote town of Andahuaylas, Peru. But after a four-day standoff, they surrendered and released their 17 hostages, which included police officers and soldiers.

The leader of the group, former army Maj. Antauro Humala, turned himself in early Tuesday morning, but his followers held hostages at the barricaded police station until midday.

The rebel group is known to represent the interests of indigenous Peruvians against the European-descended elite that still rules the country. Members, most of them former soldiers, want to create a movement based on the Incan Empire. They shun foreign investments, especially with historic rival Chile, and demanded that President Alejandro Toledo resign for his involvement in foreign business dealings.

Toledo refused to meet their demands and instead sent 1,000 troops to deal with the incident, which included an ambush of police reinforcements that killed four officers and wounded others.

Humala and his brother attempted a military coup d’etat in 2000 but failed to depose the then president. The brothers and their followers were granted amnesty by the Peruvian Congress. Humala’s movement enjoys strong local support.

The standoff began on Saturday when 10 police officers were taken hostage as Humala’s rebel group of ex-soldiers took over the police station in the remote Andean town. Soldiers were also later taken hostage. It ended when, after using the International Committee of the Red Cross as impartial negotiators, the group walked outside of the station carrying white flags, laid down their automatic rifles, and showed V-signs for victory before being taken away in buses.

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