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Peru Rebels Demand Ransom for Kidnapped Skanska Workers

Peruvian guerrillas are demanding a $10 million ransom for the release of 40 construction workers abducted from their hotel in the southern Amazon yesterday, a local official said.

The hostages include 31 employees of Swedish construction company Skanska AB, and nine from Construcciones Modulares, Fedia Castro, the mayor of La Convencion province in Cuzco, told Radio Programas. All of them are Peruvian, she said.

“They took the workers from their hotels and carried them away toward the jungle in vans,” Castro said. The kidnappers, who she referred to as narco-terrorists and criminals, left a letter demanding the ransom, she said.

Two female Skanska workers were released shortly after the kidnapping, company spokesman Edvard Lind said in a phone interview. The company is building a gas compressor station for the Camisea pipeline, the country’s largest, he said.

Castro denied reports yesterday that 23 of the workers had been released. Manuel Porras, a spokesman for the municipality of Echarate north of Cuzco, said yesterday the workers were released 11 hours after their abduction. He said the kidnappers belonged to Shining Path, the Maoist guerrilla group that waged war against the Peruvian state during the 1980s and 1990s.

President Ollanta Humala has pledged to round up the remaining members of the Shining Path guerrillas in the southern jungle, following the arrest of a leader of the group on Feb. 12.

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