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American Woman Arrested in Rebel Crackdown in Peru

December 4, 1995

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

The embassy confirmed television news reports that identified the woman as Lori Helene Berenson. Several reports said she was from New York, but the embassy did not confirm that.

According to the reports, Berenson was arrested Thursday before a siege began of the rebel hideout in an affluent Lima neighborhood. The fighting left three guerrillas and one police agent dead.

Officials refused to comment on the reason she is being held.

The rebels belonged to the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, a small pro-Cuban guerrilla band.

Police surprised the group, which resisted for 11 hours before surrendering Friday morning. The group’s no. 2 leader, Miguel Rincon, was among the 15 rebels captured.

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, mostly the result of attacks by the larger Shining Path movement, has caused more than 30,000 deaths since 1980. Terrorist activity has dropped off sharply since the 1992 capture of Polay and Shining Path chieftain Abimael Guzman.

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