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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 06:46 GMT
Peru police arrest rebel leader
Maj Antauro Humala (centre) surrounded by armed supporters
Humala's group looks to Peru's Inca past for inspiration
The leader of a group of renegade soldiers who stormed a police station in Peru and held at least 10 police officers hostage has been arrested.

Former army major Antauro Humala turned himself in while negotiating surrender, an interior ministry spokesperson told the Associated Press.

He and a group of up to 200 seized the station in the southern Andean town of Andahuaylas on Saturday.

They were demanding the resignation of Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo.

Maj Humala was arrested during negotiations with national police chief Felix Murazzo at the town hall of Adahuaylas, 400 kms (250 miles) south of the capital Lima.

"I have been placed under arrest by military order and in the next few hours I will be taken to anti-terrorist police headquarters in Lima," he told the AFP news agency by telephone.

It was unclear whether any of his followers have also given up.

The BBC's Elliott Gotkine earlier reported that an operation by Peru's security forces to re-take the police station was suspended after a request by the human rights ombudsman.


A representative for the ombudsman as well as a Catholic priest had been in negotiations during Monday with Maj Humala.

The rebels are former members of the military or national police, who include veterans of conflicts with Ecuador and Peru's own leftist rebels.

They stormed the police station on Saturday, which led to the deaths of four police officers and 19 wounded. Ten policemen were also reportedly held hostage.

Earlier on Monday, Maj Humala agreed to lay down arms in return for a guarantee of safety for his men but he later retracted his offer, accusing the government forces of firing at them.

As Peru's security forces surrounded the police station, the authorities declared a curfew in and around the town.

Our correspondent reports that the rebels accuse President Toledo of corruption and of selling out to business interests in Chile, which is Peru's historic rival.

But the group's broader aim, he adds, is to establish a nationalist indigenous movement modelled on the ancient Inca Empire.

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