Bolivian Ambassador to Peru Jorge Gumucio, one of the hostages in the 127-day Lima crisis, said he knew Bolivian officials in Peru could be kidnapped at any time by the leftist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.Gumucio first alerted his government to the danger in December 1995, when Bolivian authorities arrested four Tupac Amaru members, he told The Japan Times this week while visiting Tokyo at the invitation of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.Despite his warning, he said, all he and other embassy officials could do was be as careful as possible to avoid being abducted. “I had been told (by the Bolivian authorities) that under Bolivian law, even the president has no authority to release anyone from prison for trade, even to save one (hostage’s) life,” he said.Gumucio was the only hostage from a country other than Peru or Japan who remained captive until the last day of the siege, April 22. The guerrillas stormed the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima on Dec. 17, 1996, taking hostage over 500 people from about 30 countries — mostly diplomats and businessmen — who were attending a party to mark the Emperor’s birthday.However, the 14 guerrillas in the compound released all but 72 hostages by the end of January. Among those released was Uruguay’s ambassador to Peru, who was freed by the rebels on Dec. 24, following the country’s release of two jailed Tupac Amaru rebels.”I knew that if I was a hostage, I couldn’t be traded,” Gumucio said. He said he was the Tupac Amaru’s third Bolivian kidnapping target.
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