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American Woman Arrested in Rebel Crackdown in Peru

December 5, 1995

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ A 26-year-old American woman has been detained in connection with a bloody siege of a guerrilla hideout in Lima, the U.S. Embassy said Monday.

Lori Helene Berenson of New York is suspected of aiding a band of Marxist revolutionaries captured during the siege last week, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

According to reports, Berenson was arrested Thursday before the siege began in an affluent Lima neighborhood. The rebels belonged to the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, a small pro-Cuba guerrilla band.

Police surprised the group, which resisted for 11 hours before surrendering Friday morning. Three guerrillas and one policeman were killed; the group’s No. 2 leader, Miguel Rincon, was among 15 rebels captured.

Hugo Sayers, a spokesman for Peru’s National Antiterrorist Police, told the Times that Berenson had not been formally charged but was suspected of hiding the rebels and suporting them with food, money and other supplies.

President Alberto Fujimori said Sunday that the rebels apparently had been planning to seize Congress and take legislators as hostages, perhaps in an effort to gain the release of their leader, Victor Polay. Polay’s 1992 capture crippled the movement.

Guerrilla violence in Peru, committed mostly by the larger Shining Path movement, has killed more than 30,000 people since 1980. Terrorist activity has dropped off sharply since Polay and Shining Path chieftain Abimael Guzman were captured in 1992.

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