December 1, 2001

Peru arrests Shining Path suspects

                 LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Peruvian police arrested two suspected members of a
                 leftist guerrilla group who they believe were plotting an attack against the
                 U.S. Embassy, Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi said Saturday.

                 The alleged members of the Shining Path group were arrested in Lima on
                 November 20 with diagrams of the U.S. Embassy, Rospigliosi said.

                 "The suspicion is that they were planning to carry out attacks against the American
                 Embassy and against another site that is linked to U.S. interests," Rospigliosi told
                 cable news station Channel N. He did not specify the other site, or provide
                 information about the identity of the suspects.

                 The U.S. State Department warned American citizens on Saturday of "evidence of
                 an increase in activity by members of the Shining Path terrorist organization."

                 The Shining Path waged war against the government in the 1980s and early 1990s,
                 terrorizing urban and rural areas with car bombings and assassinations. The
                 violence diminished significantly after the 1992 capture of its founder and leader,
                 Abimael Guzman, who is now serving a life sentence.

                 Authorities suspect that the alleged attacks were planned for Monday, December 3
                 -- Guzman's birthday, Rospigliosi said. Shining Path has carried out terrorist acts
                 on that date in the past, he said.

                 The U.S. State Department said, "It is possible that Shining Path activity could be
                 directed against U.S. citizens and interests, especially around anniversary dates
                 significant to the Shining Path throughout the month of December."

                 At the peak of their power, the guerrillas carried out bombings and other attacks
                 against U.S. government and commercial properties in Peru. The rebels consider
                 the United States an imp erialist force.

                 Rospigliosi said Peruvian police have beefed up security at the U.S. Embassy, the
                 U.S. ambassador's residence and at "other locales."

                 Police believe at least 400 Shining Path combatants are still active, mainly in the Ene
                 and Huallaga River valleys east and northeast of Lima. At the peak of its strength,
                 the Shining Path was believed to have as many as 10,000 fighters.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.