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Guerrillas Ambush Colonel Who Arrested Rebel Leader

January 26, 1996

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ Guerrillas tried to kill a police colonel who had arrested a top rebel convicted of planning to attack Congress, according to news reports Thursday.

Col. Juan Gonzales was attacked Wednesday night on a highway outside the mountain town of Huaraz, 175 miles north of Lima, the daily El Mundo reported.

One attacker was killed as police and hooded assailants exchanged gunfire, the newspaper said.

Faura Vargas, spokeswoman for Peru’s anti-terrorism police, said her office was awaiting information on the incident.

Gonzales reportedly directed a Dec. 1 raid on a guerrilla headquarters in Lima. Police arrested nearly 20 rebels, including Miguel Rincon Rincon, the No. 2 leader of the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.

Three guerrillas and one police officer were killed during an 11-hour battle.

El Mundo reported that police do not know if the attack was in revenge for Rincon’s capture, or if it was the work of Peru’s other guerrilla movement, the Shining Path.

New York native Lori Berenson, 26, was charged with treason for allegedly helping the rebels. She was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 11, along with Rincon. Berenson, whose case is under appeal, is jailed in Puno, 525 miles southeast of Lima.

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