Peru Military-Police Patrol Kills 3 Top Shining Path Terrorists in Ayacucho
By Dialogo August 14, 2013
LIMA — Peru’s security forces killed three leaders of the Shining Path terrorist group in the department of Ayacucho on Monday, Aug. 11, dealing a major blow to the outlawed party.
President Ollanta Humala announced the next day that a combined military-police patrol had killed Martin Quispe Palomino and Orlando Borda, as well as a third man identified only as “Comrade Alfonso.”
“This is the most important operation since 2005, when the Shining Path began increasing its actions in the VRAEM,” said Pedro Yaranga, a Lima-based analyst who has followed the terrorist group for years.
Quispe is the brother of Víctor Quispe, the Shining Path leader in a zone formed by valleys of the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers (VRAEM). Borda is the group’s military commander in the VRAEM, a Belgium-sized swath of remote highland and jungle that has been under a state of emergency for more than 10 years. In late July, Humala extended the emergency by 60 days.
“The Shining Path is facing a crisis, because its military arm has been eliminated. They will need to reconfigure their force,” the president told reporters.
First big defeat for Shining Path in VRAEM since 2008
The deaths of Quispe and Borda constitute the first major blow to the Shining Path in the VRAEM since the military first launched an offensive against the columns in August 2008. The outlawed party radically increased its actions in April 2012, when Quispe — one of three brothers who lead the VRAEM faction — kidnapped employees of a gas pipeline company. He held 36 workers for nearly a week before releasing them unarmed.
Other attacks have taken place since then, including the October 2012 destruction of an airstrip used by the gas company, in which three helicopters were torched. Most recently, Borda was accused of leading an attack on a construction company building a road in Ayacucho’s jungle zone. No one was killed, but the rebels destroyed equipment and stole supplies.
Last year, the Shining Path killed 20 police officers and soldiers in the VRAEM; so far this year, two military officers have been killed. The rebel group suffered its biggest blow in September 1992 with the arrest of its founder and leader, Abimael Guzmán. Now 78, Guzmán is serving a life sentence; most of his fellow leaders were arrested with him or shortly after.
Two factions continued to operate, one in the northern Huallaga Valley and the other in the VRAEM. Both zones are also home to the bulk of Peru’s illegal coca crop; the VRAEM alone accounts for about one-third of Peru’s 62,500 hectares of coca under cultivation.
Huallaga faction crippled by 2012 arrest of ‘Comrade Artemio’
The Peruvian government continues to eradicate coca crops in the VRAEM, despite fierce resistance by the Shining Path. Humala’s goal is to destroy 22,000 hectares this year, a target that will be hard to reach without touching the VRAEM. Eradication brigades destroyed about 14,300 hectares of coca through the first week of August in other coca-growing zones.
The Huallaga faction — considered the more important of the two — was crippled in February 2012 with the arrest of Florindo Flores. Until the rebel, also known as “Comrade Artemio,” was arrested and imprisoned in June, he was the last remaining member of the Shining Path “Politburo” still at large. Since then, the Huallaga Valley has seen not one Shining Path action.
The Quispe brothers, while members of the Shining Path since the 1980s, did not hold leadership positions until after Guzmán’s arrest. Guzmán and other jailed leaders have called them mercenaries, and Víctor Quispe, or “Comrade José,” calls Guzmán a traitor.
Even though they’re enemies today, Guzman, Víctor Quipse and a long list of other Shining Path leaders are included in a new legal case being built against the party for a massacre in the early 1980s in Soras, a small town in Ayacucho.
Guzmán is accused of being the intellectual author of the massacre, and Quispe is accused of leading the terrorists who shot and hacked to death more than 100 unarmed peasants.
The article is very interesting, congratulations; however it is necessary to make a small correction: the operation was not developed by the "military police" it was the patrols of the army and the national police.