Update: Pipeline Workers Freed

The Techint oil workers that were kidnapped by Shining Path rebels on Monday have been freed. The workers are safe and sound according to Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo.

Defense Minister Aurelio Loret de Mola said the Shining Path rebels were forced to abandon hostages unharmed after security forces blocked escape routes. "The operation created a pressure cooker, an intense psychological and physical pressure that forced these people to release hostages," he said. Toledo said officials were now searching for the kidnappers near Toccate, a remote construction camp in a mountainous jungle region where Techint is building the pipeline for the Camisea natural gas project.

Toledo said the hostages were freed without paying the kidnappers -- who were demanding $1 million, weapons and high-technology communications gear from Techint. Daniel Sanmartino, a Techint executive in Peru, confirmed that no ransom was paid, but released hostage Julio Aguilar said he and others were freed after "it appeared that the company met their demands."