POSTED: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 11:00am
UPDATED: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 11:04am
NBC News — The U.S. has warned citizens to exercise caution when visiting Peru's famous Machu Picchu ruins because of the threat of kidnappings. The State Department has restricted its personnel from traveling to the ruins until at least the end of the month. The U.S. embassy in Lima said it had information a criminal group that could be planning to kidnap American tourists visiting Machu Picchu and the Cusco region where the ruins are tucked into the mountains.
Peru's minister of foreign trade and tourism said that all visitors were free to travel to the area which is monitored by his office. Part of the Cusco region has a series of jungle valleys where there are members of the Shining Path insurgency. The insurgents kidnapped 36 natural gas workers last year. All of them were released unharmed. The U.S. state department mention Shining Path or any political motives for possible kidnappings.