Peru Creates Military Region to Better Combat Shining Path Guerrillas
By Dialogo January 09, 2009Peru will raise the South Andean valley war zone cut through by the rivers Apurímac and Ene, one of the last refuges of Shining Path Maoist guerrillas, to military region rank, Secretary of Defense Antero Flores Aráoz said Friday. Full Article: Peru will raise the South Andean valley war zone cut through by the rivers Apurímac and Ene, one of the last refuges of Shining Path Maoist guerrillas, to military region rank, Secretary of Defense Antero Flores Aráoz said Friday. “The Apurímac and Ene Valley will become a transitory but autonomous military region in order to guarantee equipment and logistic support to fight drug trafficking,” said the Peruvian public official. “We are in combat, and the military aspect is as important as the logistic one,” Minister Flores Aráoz stated to local radio station CPN, justifying the government decision. “The region will exist as long as the fight against the remnants of the Shining Path and the narcotics trade, which are allied," the Minister said. He added that the new military organization will also allow a better use of the Russian MI-17 and MI-18 helicopters, which are key to supplying military equipment to the armed forces. The mountainous, wooded region of Vizcatán is located in the Apurímac and Ene South Andean valley, which has been one of the main refuges of the Shining Path for more than two decades. The new military region - an administrative category which confers autonomy from the higher command - will be directed by a Division General instead of a Brigadier General. The Secretary also said that in the last four months the army has been expanding military action in the region of Vizcatán, where a Shining Path group, made up of at least 500 members led by "comrade Alipio," is surviving. Government and violence analysts state that this group acts in alliance with drug traffickers to help them transport drugs, and has abandoned all ideological motivations to become narco - terrorists. Shining Path launched an internal war in 1980 that, after 20 years, left approximately 70,000 dead and missing. Its founder, Abimael Guzmán, has been jailed since 1992 and is serving a life sentence.