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KIDNAP RISK EASING IN PERU

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LONDON-Business executives working in Peru probably face a slightly lessened kidnapping risk after the successful rescue of hostages at the Japanese Ambassador's residence in Lima, a political risk consultant says.

However, while last week's end to the 126-day siege bodes well for the security of key personnel, the risk of kidnapping and terrorism in Peru is still relatively high, said John Wade, analyst on the Americas desk of London-based Control Risks Group Ltd.

Nevertheless, the failure of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement to achieve its political aims after invading a party at the Japanese ambassador's residence last Dec. 17 and the death of all 14 guerrillas as Peruvian military forces ended the siege "should intensify the decline of the MRTA, which was already evident since the early 1990s," he said.

The success of the military rescue, with all but one of the 72 hostages surviving, also is likely to revive faith in Peru's security forces and the popularity of President Alberto Fujimori. Both of those developments should discourage similar sieges, Mr. Wade noted.

While Peru is seen by Control Risks as less risky than Colombia, for example, Mr. Wade said his advice to businesses after the siege remains the same: "Continue to take common-sense precautions."

He noted that following the siege in Lima, the Tupac Amaru rebels had issued a warning that they would continue to target the Peruvian regime, and that while he does not think foreigners are particular targets of the terrorist movement, "they are not free of risk either."

Parts of Peru are still designated by the government as being under "emergency regulations," and these areas would be best avoided, Mr. Wade warned. The risks come not just from terrorists, but also from criminals and other "opportunistic" attackers.

When traveling in Peru, each trip must be approached on an individual basis to "ascertain the level of risk," he said.