Hostages in Lima ordeal beg for food

"There's nothing left but for all of us to die together." The words of one of the Peruvian guerrillas holding almost 400 government and diplomatic hostages in the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima brought a chill to this nation and the world.

"We do not want an attack. We do not want an assault. But we know we're dead anyway," the guerrilla told a Lima radio station by phone. It increased fears that the siege of the residence might end in violence despite pressure from governments around the world to resolve it peacefully.

The guerrillas of the Marxist Tupac Amaru Liberation Movement (MRTA) stormed the building, in the San Isidro district, on Tuesday during the annual Christmas party. They are holding government ministers, ambassadors, judges and Japanese executives. They are demanding the release of several hundred comrades, safe conduct, a multi-million cash ransom and a 180- degree turnabout in President Alberto Fujimori's free-market policies. An international Red Cross official said two dozen guerrillas were holding the hostages.

Mr Fujimori seems intent on starving out the guerrillas and the hostages. "No food. No water - the hostages," said a sign held out by a hostage yesterday. The sign later appeared in other languages, including Spanish and Japanese.

Supermarket employees wheeled trolleys of sandwiches and vegetables to a back door of the residence but it appeared to be minimal for 400 people who had been cooped up for 48 hours. The trolleys also contained toilet paper, after the hostages complained of hygiene problems.

"The situation inside is difficult. There is overcrowding. It is very hot. Among the illnesses the hostages are suffering from are diabetes, heart problems, ulcers and diarrhoea," a Red Cross official, Sergio Natajaran, said.

Security forces cordoned off the block around the building while Mr Fujimori remained silent on the guerrillas' request for him to show up and negotiate. They were reportedly receiving instructions by bleeper from a group leader calling from "somewhere in the Peruvian jungle".

The Canadian ambassador, Anthony Vincent, appeared to be the key mediator, working by telephone.

Most Peruvians expressed frustration and appeared to back tough action. Relatives of the hostages showed up at the cordon, bringing food and clothing, but were held back. The Japanese Foreign Minister, Yukihiko Ikeda, arrived from Tokyo to help with the negotiations.

Dushanbe - Tajik guerrillas seized 23 hostages yesterday, including seven foreign United Nations military observers, and threatened to shoot them if their demands were not met within two days, Reuter reports. A UN source in the capital, Dushanbe, said the group held up a column with UN personnel, Tajik government officials and representatives of the armed Islamic opposition. They demanded the rebels free the brother of an opposition chief who joined forces with the government last month and would shoot the hostages and detonate 30 bombs which had been hidden around Dushanbe if their demands were not met by 2pm tomorrow.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test