Group that seized Peruvian police station and hostages surrenders

ANDAHUAYLAS, Peru - Fighters belonging to an armed nationalist group that seized a remote Peruvian police station and took officers and soldiers hostage surrendered to authorities Tuesday and freed their 17 captives, officials said.

The surrenders of the group's leader and his fighters came separately. Former army Maj. Antauro Humala turned himself in late Monday, Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo said, while 94 of his fighters walked out of the station Tuesday morning, carrying white flags and placing their automatic rifles on the ground.

"Last night at 10:30 p.m. we arrested the leader of the terrorist group," Toledo said in a nationally broadcast address to the nation. "And today at 11:30 we achieved the surrender of the other 94, recovered the weapons, liberated the hostages and retook the police station, thus re-establishing public order."

The rebels, all former soldiers, flashed "V" signs for victory and sang the Peru army anthem before climbing into three buses provided by the police and riding away.

The hostages also left in one of the buses.

Fighters supporting Humala, whose group wants to establish a nationalist indigenous movement modeled on the ancient Incan Empire, ambushed police reinforcements as they crossed a bridge Sunday, killing four officers.

Humala's group demanded the resignation of Toledo, accusing him of selling out Peru to business interests in Chile, a historic rival. Humala and his brother led a failed military uprising against former President Alberto Fujimori in 2000.

The extremist group opposes foreign investment and preaches against the European-descended elite that has ruled Peru for hundreds of years.

Toledo refused to step down, instead declaring a state of emergency and sending 1,000 troops to the region.

The standoff began Saturday when the gunmen took over the police station in this Andean town, about 275 miles southeast of the capital, Lima.

Ten police officers were taken hostage.


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