- Title: PERU: Peru marks 10th anniversary of the end of the Japanese hostage crisis
- Date: 23rd April 2007
- Summary: (BN01) LIMA, PERU (FILE - 2007) (REUTERS) THEN-PRESIDENT ALBERTO FUJIMORI WALKING UPSTAIRS IN HOUSE OF JAPANESE AMBASSADOR AND LOOKING AT BODIES OF KIDNAPPERS
- Embargoed: 8th May 2007 13:00
- Location: Peru
- Country: Peru
- Reuters ID: LVA24WTYNG7C19R0KK4RWRITHU2L
- Story Text: Peruvian military re-enacts rescue of hostages at the house of Japanese ambassador, ten years after dramatic hostage crisis Peru marked on Sunday (April 22), the tenth anniversary of the end of the hostage crisis at the Japanese ambassador's house with a military parade and a re-enactment of the rescue operation.
Ten years ago, members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) stormed the Japanese ambassador's house during a party and took hundreds of people hostage including important diplomats, future president Alejandro Toledo and the mother of then-president Alberto Fujimori.
The MRTA released most hostages but held 72 men including the Japanese ambassador and Peruvian foreign minister while they demanded the release of hundreds of jailed MRTA members.
The hostage crisis dragged on for months, until a group of commandos stormed the building. Seventeen people died including all 16 kidnappers and one hostage-- a Peruvian Supreme Court judge who had a heart attack after he was injured.
On Sunday, Vice-President Luis Gianpetri who was one of the hostages, pinned military decorations on the miners who helped build the rescue tunnel.
The commandos paraded in front of government officials and then re-enacted the operation.
But journalist Umberto Jara, who delved into the event in his book "Secrets of the Tunnel", said all was not what it appeared to be.
"In reality, there were two operations," he said. "One in charge of the 142 army commandos who the successfully freed the hostages. Then, after they had finished their work, a clandestine squad dressed as commandos, wearing balaclavas (knit caps) and made up of police officers who were members of the national intelligence service. That clandestine squad entered with the knowledge and consent of President Fujimori."
Human rights organisations have condemned the raid and accusations have surfaced that some of the kidnappers were executed by the rescuers.
At the time, the rescue was widely seen as a victory for then-President Alberto Fujimori who was seen wearing a bullet-proof vest as he walked among the corpses of the dead rebels.
Fujimori, who is of Japanese descent and holds dual citizenship, resigned in 2000 in disgrace after a corruption scandal and allegations of human rights abuse. He went into exile in Japan while a mounting criminal case faced him at home and eventually arrived without prior notice in Santiago, Chile in November of 2005.
Fujimori remains free on bail in Chile as the Peruvian government seeks to extradite him to stand trial.
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