Peru rebels free seven more hostages

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The Independent Online
Tupac Amaru rebels holding 81 hostages at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima yesterday released a further seven of their captives.

They left the residence at about 5:25 pm. (22.25 GMT), accompanied by Red Cross officials and Roman Catholic Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani - who has been an important channel in negotiations between the rebels and the government. All appeared to be Japanese or Peruvians of Japanese descent. Applause from journalists and onlookers greeted them as they boarded a waiting bus which took them to a nearby police hospital for medical examination.

The release left 74 captives still inside the residence. The siege is now in its 15th day.

AP - Lima