Peru: state of emergency as Sendero demands ransom for Camisea workers

Peru’s President Ollanta Humala declared a 60-day state of emergency in La Convenci贸n province April 11, following the abduction there two days earlier of workers from the Camisea Consortium by presumed guerillas of the Sendero Luminoso movement. Over the past 48 hours, details of the affair in the media have changed, and are sometimes contradictory. Initial accounts said a Camisea work camp was taken over by the guerillas; accounts now indicate the workers were abducted from their hotel in Kepashiato village, Echarate district, La Convenci贸n province, Cuzco region. Initial accounts said 30 workers were seized, and all but seven later released; accounts now say 43 are being held. Accounts are also placing the abductions in the the Apur铆mac-Ene River Valley (VRAE), one of the last areas of the country that still has an active Sendero Luminoso presence. However, La Convenci贸n is in the valley of the next river to east of the Apur铆mac-Ene, the Urubamba, separated from the VRAE by a mountain range. This could either be sloppy journalism, or an expansion of the VRAE’s definition to include adjacent areas where Sendero is now active.

Also contradicting the details of some early reports, the abducted workers are now said to be employees of Skanska of Sweden and the Peruvian company Ransa, both apparently contracted by Transportadora de Gas del Peru (TGP), which is in turn contracted by the Camisea Consortium to build a gas compressor station at Kepashiato for the trans-Andean pipeline linking the Camisea gas fields to the Pacific. The guerillas are reportedly demanding $10 ransom for release of the captive workers, who are all Peruvians. La Convenci贸n mayor Fedia Castro has called for the government to build an army base at Kepashiato to protect the gas operations. The wives of at least three of the captive workers are calling for the government to immediately open negotiations with the Sendero militants. (Bloomberg, AP, El Comercio, RPP, Peru21, April 11; AP, April 10; Correo, April 9)

See our last posts on Peru, the hostage crisis and the struggle for the Amazon.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.