Lima Syndrome

The Lima Syndrome is an inverse of the Stockholm Syndrome in which abductors develop sympathy for their hostages. It was named after an abduction at the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru in 1996, when members of a militant movement, the Túpac Amaru, took hostage hundreds of people that were attending a party at the official residence of Japan’s ambassador. The hostages consisted of diplomats, government and military officials, and businessmen of many nationalities.

Within a few hours, the terrorists had freed most of the hostages, including the potentially valuable ones, such as the future President of Peru and the mother of the current President, owing to the terrorist feeling sympathy for their victims.
There are a number of reasons why this would happen. Maybe one or more of the kidnappers did not wholeheartedly agree with the plan or they just did not want to hurt innocent hostages. But maybe the main operational reason was that it is too difficult to keep such a large number of hostages in check. If the latter reason is true, then the Lima Syndrome is nothing more than a popular myth.

After being held hostage for 126 days, the remaining dignitaries were freed in a raid by Peruvian Armed Forces commandos, during which one hostage, two commandos, and all the Túpac Amaru terrorists died.

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