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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fujimori: Police Responsible In Embassy Hostage Seizure

LIMA, Peru -- Peruvian officials and Marxist guerrillas were poised on Tuesday for new face-to-face hostage talks as President Alberto Fujimori blamed police for failing to foil the rebels' raid on the Japanese ambassador's home 70 days ago.


"We cannot speak about culpability yet. But there is responsibility on the part of some officials and of members of the National Police," Fujimori told reporters Monday.


An investigation was underway, he added, and news reports said some authorities may be punished for the Dec. 17 takeover of the mansion, where Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA, rebels still hold 72 hostages.


On Monday, government negotiator Domingo Palermo and rebel leader Nestor Cerpa agreed to hold a sixth round of face-to-face talks Tuesday aimed at ending the stand-off.


Fujimori, speaking on a trip to the eastern jungle town of Mazamari, said talks were still in a "preliminary stage" with the two sides yet to reach an accord for formal negotiations to end the crisis.


The president also said Peru's intelligence service had informed police weeks before the takeover that MRTA rebels had sent weapons and fighters from the central jungle to the capital for a hostage-taking operation.


Police high command ordered preventive steps on Nov. 15, but, "apparently, adequate measures were not taken to assure that the reception at the Japanese Embassy would take place normally," he added.


His comments confirmed a secret police report obtained by Reuters that showed regional anti-terrorist police in mid-October had warned authorities in Lima that the MRTA was planning an assault around Nov. 30.


Fujimori, meanwhile, denied a Japanese newspaper's report that he had agreed to place on the final agenda the main MRTA demand of freedom for jailed rebels, something the government has flatly rejected from the start.