Bombings follow Guzman's capture

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The Independent Online
LIMA (AFP) - A policeman was shot dead and five people were seriously injured when two bombs exploded at the height of the morning rush hour in Lima yesterday, in what police said was retaliation by Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) for the capture of their leader, Abimael Guzman.

A car bomb exploded in a residential area in the north of the capital, leaving five people seriously injured, and at about the same time a bomb went off in an industrial area in the west of the capital, police said. The bombings were carried out despite security arrangements in the city being stepped up after Saturday's surprise arrest of Guzman. The President, Alberto Fujimori, has vowed that Guzman would receive the 'maximum punishment possible', describing him as a 'monster' who 'ordered the deaths of thousands of innocent people'.

In a television and radio address, the President compared the Maoist guerrilla group founded by the 57-year-old philosophy professor to 'the fascist criminals of the Second World War'.

Mr Fujimori described Guzman as a 'diabolical genius' who also 'became the chief hitman of drug traffickers in Peru'.

Television stations also showed the first videotape of the Shining Path leader, his bushy beard mostly grey, sitting facing the camera with a sign around his neck reading '1509' and the date 'September 12, 1992' on his chest. He is also seen standing with his shirt off as he fastens his trousers, alongside five women and two men captured in the raid.

By showing Guzman behind bars, observers say Mr Fujimori may have rescued his beleaguered presidency which has been in trouble since he disbanded parliament and declared martial law on 5 April.

Opposition politicians had said the April coup would give new legitimacy to the guerrilla organisation, which would be seen to be 'attacking and fighting against a dictatorship'. But Mr Fujimori's opponents were quieter after the weekend's successes, and analysts said the coup may seal the success of Mr Fujimori's supporters in parliamentary elections on 22 November.

Guzman's capture came as a fillip for Peruvians, many of whom at first could not believe he had been captured. 'We'll walk the streets without fear,' said one Lima man, amid calls for Guzman to be sentenced to death, 'cut into little bits' or 'burnt alive'.

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