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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 24, 1997)
Planning key to raid’s success
Peru hostage crisis
lasted four months and
was ended in less than
LIMA, Peru (AP) — Tipped by a
hidden radio receiver that rescuers
were about to blow their way into the
Japanese ambassador’s home, one of
the 72 hostages thought it was a joke
— gallows humor. For another, the
three-minute warning seemed like an
Downstairs in the reception area,
eight rebels wearing the T-shirts of
their favorite Peruvian teams were hav
ing fun, playing a four-on-four game
of soccer with a makeshift ball made
out of rolled-up, taped curtain.
With a boom, the floor suddenly
buckled beneath the rebels from a blast
set off in a tunnel dug under the recep
tion hall, and 140 commandos rushed
in with guns crackling. After four tense
months of captivity, the hostages were
free, all 14 of their guerrilla captors
Also dead was one hostage and two
soldiers. But exactly how did Pern’s
security forces pull off a raid that ri
valed some of the most stunning hos
tage rescues in years?
With patience, detailed planning
and even a bold warning to the hos
tages just ahead of the raid.
“We’ll free you in three minutes,”
authorities reportedly told a retired
naval officer who had been able to hide
his radio receiver from rebels the en
tire four months he was in captivity.
The hostage, identified by Lima’s El
Sol newspaper as retired Adm. Luis
Giampietri Rojas, quickly passed the
word on to the others.
For Bolivian Ambassador Jorge
Gumucio, the wait “seemed like for
Another captive, Roman Catholic
priest Juan Julio Wicht, had just fin
ished a game of chess when someone
whispered that the rescue was immi
“He tells us that they’re going to
free us in a few minutes, everything will
be OK. I thought it was a joke, because
we’ve made a lot of black-humor
jokes,” he said.
The rebels, many of them teen
agers, had been careless. Frustrated by
months of being cooped up in the man
sion, they had been playing soccer for
20 minutes. Even rebel leader Nestor
Cerpa was among the players.
Suddenly the floor exploded below
their feet. Police had burrowed under
the building over the months since the
Dec. 17 takeover, monitoring rebel dis
cussions and movements and planting
explosives in the tunnel.
Looking down from upstairs, three
guerrillas who were watching the soc
cer game in the reception area and an
other three who were on guard barely
had time to react. A few tried to open
One threw a grenade that killed at
least one of the two soldiers who died,
said Gumucio, the Bolivian ambassa
But commandos were everywhere,
blasting through the front door, blow
ing a hole in the roof and even pop
ping up like moles out of a tunnel that
let out in the garden.
Unlike the rebels, some of the hos
tages were ready. They sprawled on the
floor and covered their faces so guer
rillas couldn’t identify the most impor
tant captives for what they feared
would be an execution.
“Don’t move, don’t move,” Japa
nese Ambassador Morihisa Aoki
warned other hostages as they lay chok
ing on billowing smoke while explo
sions shook the walls.
Somebody dragged a mattress over
Aoki’s head. Others covered their
heads with books. Then they got to
their feet and fled, one in his under
wear and clutching his trousers.
Elite commandos had plenty of time
to plan their split-second raid. And they
were painstaking, reportedly slipping
unnoticed in civilian clothes into
houses near the compound over sev
eral weeks and training at a crude
wooden replica of the ambassador’s
home in the dusty hills outside Lima.
The tunnel, a key in the rescue’s
success, reportedly led to three points
within the compound — the kitchen,
the main reception area and under the
tent set up in the back garden for the
cocktail party that the rebels stormed
on Dec. 17.
Sex in the South: Make love, not elephants
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — It seemed like a good idea:
Use hormones to keep elephants from getting pregnant.
South Africa’s largest game park has dropped that experiment in
jumbo-size birth control after a seven-month trial run, appalled to find
the hormones put female elephants’ sex drive in overdrive.
Instead of keeping the elephants from going into heat, the estrogen
patches kept them in constant heat. The result: torrid scenes of wild
sexual abandon on the grounds of Kruger National Park.
Traditionally, wildlife managers control the size of elephant herds by
simply selecting some of the animals for killing. But that method invari
ably prompts protests.
Tlie experiment at Kruger was part of a two-pronged effort to see if it
was possible and practical to control the herds’ size pharmaceutically.
In one of the two methods tried, park workers administered a vaccine
that prevents sperm from penetrating the females’ eggs. That program
continues without problems on 22 elephants.
Then there was the effort to use estrogen. Park workers picked 10
elephants few the experiment—tranquilizing them via darts fired from
helicopters, running ultrasounds to make sure they weren’t already preg
nant, and fitting slow-release patches behind their ears.
Questions arose about the results “as soon as the thing started,” Park
Veterinarian Douw Grobler said.
None of the elephants got pregnant, but “this was not the kind of
behavior we were looking for,” Grobler said.
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) —
Choking back tears, Fuzzy Zoeller
withdrew from this week’s PGA tour
nament, saying he wanted to apologize
personally to Tiger Woods for racially
insensitive remarks he made about the
“I am the one who screwed up and
I will pay the price,” Zoeller said
Wednesday, in pulling 4>ut of the
Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic.
The surprising move came one day
after Kmart severed its promotional ties
with Zoeller because of his remarks.
Zoeller, 45, said he couldn’t con
tinue playing competitive golf until
talking with the 21-year-old Woods,
who on April 13 became the first black
to win a major.
For the third straight day, Zoeller
read a statement apologizing for call
ing Woods “that little boy” and urging
him not to request fried chicken and
collard greens at the Champions Din
ner when he returns to Augusta Na
tional next year.
“I also regret the distraction this has
caused the world of golf,” Zoeller said.
“What I said is distracting people at
this tournament. And that’s not fair to
the other people on this course trying
to play this tournament.”
I Judge rules California term limits unconstitutional
OAKLAND, Calif. — Term limits for California lawmakers, ap
proved by voters in 1990, were ruled unconstitutional Wednesday by a
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said the California initiative,
Proposition 140, went too far by imposing a lifetime ban on lawmakers
who have reached their term limits — three two-year terms in the As
sembly, two four-year terms in the state Senate.
“California’s extreme version of term limits imposes a severe burden
on the right of its citizens to vote for candidates of their choice,” Wilken
She agreed to suspend her ruling during the state’s appeal. That prob
ably means term limits will remain in effect for the 1998 elections.
Wreckage in Rockies is missing A-10, Air Force says
EAGLE, Colo.—Two pieces of wreckage found on a snowy Rocky
Mountain peak are from the Air Force A-10 warplane that vanished on a
training mission over Arizona three weeks ago, the military confirmed
Wednesday. The search for the plane’s missing pilot continued.
Islamic court executes man by slitting his throat
GROZNY, Russia — In the first capital punishment case handled
by Chechnya’s Islamic courts, a man convicted of murder was put to
death by an executioner who slit his throat with a dagger, a news agency
The man, identified only as Ibrahim, was found guilty of killing a
man, a woman and their 6-year-old son with an ax, the ITAR-Tass agency
reported. He was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of
the killings last October, it said. The execution was broadcast on state
Iran launches part two ofHoad to Jerusalem? war games
TEHRAN, Iran—Iran launched the second day of its largest-ever
war games near the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, maneuvers de
signed to test Tehran’s array of missiles and demonstrate its military
The maneuvers focus on demonstrating Iran’s naval might and its
ability to control the strategic strait, gateway for one-fifth of the world’s
More than 200,000 Revolutionary Guards and Islamic volunteers are
taking part in the three-day war games, nicknamed Tariq-ol-Qods, or
“The Road to Jerusalem.”
Supporting Clinton, Dole backs chemical weapons ban
WASHINGTON — On the eve of a Senate showdown, President
Clinton won surprise support from former rival Bob Dole on Wednes
day for a worldwide treaty to ban chemical weapons. Clinton also courted
backing from Majority Leader Trent Lott.
“Is it perfect? No,” Dole said at a White House ceremony attended
by Clinton. “But I believe there are now adequate safeguards to protect
The treaty, already ratified by 74 nations, would ban the use, devel
opment, production or stockpiling of all chemical warfare agents and
require the destruction of existing stockpiles over the next decade. It
will take effect next week, whether or not the United States ratifies it.
Ralph Reed resigns as Christian Coalition director
WASHINGTON — Ralph Reed announced Wednesday he is re
signing as executive director of the Christian Coalition, an 8-year-old
religious conservative organization he helped build into a major force in
Reed told a news conference he is leaving in September to form a
political consulting firm to be named Century Strategies. It likely will
have its headquarters in his native state of Georgia, with offices in Wash
ington and elsewhere, he said.
rv'jv l Questions? Comments? Ask for the appropriate section
Managing Editor Paula Lavigne
Assoc. News Editors: Joshua Gillin
Night Editor: Anne Hjersman
Opinion Editor Anthony Nguyen
AP Wire Editor John Fulwider
Copy Desk Chief: Julie Sobczyk
Sports Editor Trevor Parks
A&E Editor: Jeff Randall
Photo Director: Scott Bruhn
Art Director: Aaron Steckelberg
Web Editors: Michelle Collins
Night News Bryce Glenn
Editors: Leanne Sorensen
General Manager. Dan Shattil
Advertising Manager Amy Struthers
Asst Ad Manager Cheryl Renner
Classified Ad Manager Tiffiny Clifton
Publications Travis Brandt
Board Chairman: 436-7915
Professional Don Walton
FAX NUMBER: 472-1761
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