Peru Police to Question Shining Path Leader

By Dialogo
February 15, 2012


Peruvian police said on February 13 they were preparing to question the Shining Path leader known as “Comrade Artemio” after soldiers captured him in a remote jungle cabin suffering from a serious gunshot wound.

Artemio — whose real name is Florindo Eleuterio Flores, 47 — led one of two rump splinter groups of the Maoist insurgency that terrorized Peruvians in the 1980s and 1990s.

Peru’s military launched an offensive last week in the mountainous jungle Alto Huallaga region to capture Artemio, and an army patrol found him on February 12 convalescing after being shot in a gun battle with police three days before.

Artemio was “badly wounded and has all but lost his right arm,” Defense Minister Alberto Otarola said Sunday.

The rebel leader was flown to the main police hospital in Lima, and on February 12 a National Police spokesman said that Artemio’s health “was stable.”

The wounds “did not affect any vital organs,” the spokesman told AFP, adding that Artemio will be soon be interrogated by officials from the anti-terrorism directorate.

The Shining Path suffered a crippling blow when its founder and leader, Abimael Guzman, was captured in 1992. Authorities soon captured other group leaders, and the remaining fighters fled into the jungle where they survived as hired gun for drug traffickers.

That group in turn split — the group headed by Artemio wanted to negotiate a surrender, while an even more violent rival group active in the Apurimac and Ene River valley area wanted to fight on.

Prosecutors blame Artemio for at least 500 insurgent attacks, and say he is responsible for more than 50 deaths over the past five years.

Attorney General Jose Antonio Pelaez Bardales said that under current legislation Artemio can expect to spend the rest of his life in the same maximum security prison in Callao where Guzman, now 75, is being held.

President Ollanta Humala — a former army officer who earlier in his career helped battle the rebels — has been seeking to eradicate the last vestiges of Shining Path, which was one of Latin America’s bloodiest guerrilla movements.





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