Peru authorities search for 40 kidnapped workers
by The Canadian Press
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LIMA, Peru—Peruvian security forces pressed an air and land search for 40 construction workers kidnapped by Shining Path rebels.
The abducted workers—employees of Skanska of Sweden and Peruvian company Ransa who were building a new gas treatment plant—were seized before dawn on April 9 in the hamlet of Kepashiato, near Peru’s main natural gas field in the Amazon jungle.
Officials said the rebels are demanding US$10 million in ransom.
The government has declared a two-month state of emergency in the district of Echarate, where the workers were abducted.
Skanska spokesman Edvard Lind said from Sweden that 29 of the workers were employees of the construction company. He said the company was co-operating with Peruvian authorities as well as its client, a natural gas consortium.
The workers were rounded up from their hotels, said Kepashiato’s mayor, Rosalio Sanchez. He said the rebels lingered for three hours, buying groceries and summoning about 20 residents to an assembly where they condemned the government and the natural gas industry.
Castro, the municipality mayor, said residents reported that dozens of rebels were involved in seizing the workers, and drove them away in sport utility vehicles.