During the months that followed, the rebels released all female hostages and all but 72 of the men. Ironically it may have been due to the diligence of the Japanese that saw a protracted hostage crisis.
It was surrounded by a foot wall, and had grates on all windows, bullet-proof glass in many windows, and doors built to withstand the impact of a grenade. This made it an easy site to defend from the inside. Due to the high number of officials attending the cocktail party the complex had been guarded by over heavily armed police officers and bodyguards. Nevertheless the 14 terrorists blasted a hole in the garden wall and stormed in. Publicly the Peruvian president, Fujimori, wanted a peaceful solution to the crisis.
He met the prime minister of Japan, Ryutaro Hashimoto in Canada and even talked with the Cuban leader Fidel castro, raising speculation that the MRTA guerrillas may be allowed to go to Cuba as political exiles. Privately, however, Fujimori had no intention of allowing the rebels to succeed, or, arguably, even to live as upcoming events showed.
Over the course of weeks, cameras and microphones were being placed in key locations throughout the building by those hostages with military training, such as Navy Admiral Luis Giampietri. Brought in from the outside, these were hidden in water bottles, books and board games let in by the terrorists.
The hostages themselves were allowed to have clean clothes, and the clothes sent in by the Peruvian Government were all light-coloured, which would later allow commandos to easily tell them apart from darkly clothed terrorists. Extensive tunnels were being dug from adjacent buildings, leading to several key points under the Japanese residence. To conceal the noise patriotic music was played from the outside of the building while tanks repeated rolled back and forward.
And the rescue began on 22 April , more than four months after the beginning of the siege. A team of Peruvian commandos mounted a dramatic raid on the residence. The first explosion occurred in the middle of the room where the soccer game was taking place, killing three of the terrorists immediately — two of the men involved in the game, and one of the women watching from the sidelines. Through the hole created by that blast and the other two explosions, 30 commandos stormed into the building, chasing the surviving MRTA members in order to stop them before they could reach the second floor.
Two other moves were made simultaneously with the explosions. In the first, 20 commandos launched a direct assault at the front door in order to join their comrades inside the waiting room, where the main staircase to the second floor was located. On their way in, they found the two other female MRTA militants guarding the front door.
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Behind the first wave of commandos storming the door came another group of soldiers carrying ladders, which they placed against the rear walls of the building. In the final prong of the coordinated attack, another group of commandos emerged from two tunnels that had reached the backyard of the residence. These soldiers quickly scaled the ladders that had been placed for them. Their task was to blow out a grenade-proof door on the second floor, through which the hostages would be evacuated, and to make two openings in the roof so that they could kill the MRTA members upstairs before they had time to execute the hostages.
According to the U. The cable also says that another female MRTA member was executed after the raid. The rescue created much controversy which continues to this day. Peruvian TV also showed Fujimori striding among the dead guerrillas immediately after the raid; some of the bodies were mutilated.
Shortly thereafter President Fujimori was seen riding through Lima in a bus carrying the freed hostages. The military victory was publicized as a political triumph and used to bolster his hard-line stance against armed insurgent groups. His popularity ratings quickly doubled to nearly 70 percent, and he was acclaimed a national hero. For everyday Peruvians the effectiveness of the rescue bolstered national sentiment. Fujimori's "crisis of embarrassment" began without warning on Dec.
The rebels blew a hole in the back of the building while white-clad waiters, who had been pouring champagne, suddenly produced automatic weapons and ordered guests to lay on the floor. The rebels had captured dozens of important diplomats and businessmen, including ambassador Vincent and his wife Lucie. Hours later, the guerrillas released about 80 women.
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The following day, Vincent was freed along with the ambassadors of Greece and Germany with orders from Cerpa to help negotiate the release of imprisoned Tupac fighters. Over the next few weeks, most of the other hostages were let go. Those left behind were mainly Peruvian government and military officials and 20 Japanese nationals. But as Fujimori steadfastly refused to give up the Tupac prisoners, the mood among the captives grew darker.
They were reaching the end of their endurance. As Vincent and his fellow ambassadors shuttled in and out of the compound, government anti-terrorist experts secretly launched operation Chavin de Huantar - a phrase taken from an ancient Peruvian culture meaning "special energy and force. Other tiny listening devices were smuggled in to the hostages, one placed in the lining of a religious image a wife sent to her husband, another sewn into a shirt.
Sunday, April 20, proved to be a crucial day. A poll showed that Fujimori's approval rating had fallen steeply, hurt by charges that his intelligence service used torture. He fired his interior minister and swore in a hardline general to replace him. And Vincent reported that Cerpa was now saying he would cut back on the hostages' medical visits - arguably a threat to their well-being, which Fujimori had said would justify using force. Before the day ended, Fujimori had sent crack soldiers into five air-conditioned tunnels that had been dug under the ambassador's residence.
But the technology was essential. Fujimori later said the precise moment of the assault was not determined until the eavesdropping devices alerted the soldiers to exactly where the Tupac rebels and hostages were located in the building.
On Tuesday afternoon, he gave the signal to set off the explosives and begin the assault. Cerpa, who was injured in the attack, still tried to drag himself to the second floor of the residence, where most of the hostages had been held since the rebels first feared that tunnels were being built. But before he could reach the captives, troops gunned him down. One of the hostages, Bolivian ambassador Jorge Gumucio, said they knew an assault was imminent because they had been secretly warned to expect it if they heard the Peruvian navy's anthem being played on two consecutive days from government loudspeakers blaring outside the compound.
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It was played on Monday morning and again on the day of the attack. Shortly before the assault, another warning message was relayed to a Peruvian admiral who had kept a small radio receiver hidden from the rebels throughout his time in captivity. Even so, Luis Chang Ching, one of five Peruvian congressmen held by the rebels, said most of the hostages were caught off guard.
Canada's Vincent was also taken by surprise. Arriving at the Canadian embassy, he took an urgent call from his wife. Still, the ambassador said the negotiators were saddened because they had come to know many of the rebels. At a news conference following the battle, his fellow negotiator, Peruvian Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani, broke into tears over their deaths. Most Peruvians, however, expressed little sympathy. After the rescue, Fujimori's approval rating shot up to 67 per cent from 38 per cent. But in Cameron's view, the price will be more power for the armed forces.
The international community, however, was quick to back Fujimori. As they boarded buses , Fujimori stood at the door greeting them. The storming of the residence came on the same day that a mediator in the standoff, Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani, sent a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto saying that maximum care was being taken to reach a successful, peaceful solution. Japanese officials in Tokyo had been putting pressure on Peruvian officials not to solve the standoff militarily, and Fujimori had previously said that he would consult the Japanese government before using force against the rebels.
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But Hashimoto, while expressing his appreciation for the rescue, said at a Tokyo press conference his government had not been consulted prior to the attack. He characterized that as "very regrettable. Fujimori said Hashimoto was not consulted beforehand in order to maintain the element of surprise needed to make the operation a success. Just what prompted the Peruvian government to launch the raid Tuesday, after letting the standoff linger for days, wasn't immediately clear.
But over the weekend, Fujimori had appointed two hard-line generals to top security posts. Dissatisfaction with the ongoing hostage saga, which was sapping Fujimori's popularity, was seen as one of the reasons for the move. Since he assumed the presidency in , Fujimori, who is of Japanese descent, had led a successful crackdown on rebel movements in Peru, including the Tupac Amaru and the Maoist Shining Path. During the rescue Aftermath.
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