On August 24, troops of the Peruvian Armed Forces and the National Police neutralized four Shining Path terrorists in the coca-growing region of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM, in Spanish).
Alias Cirilo, the group’s leader, and aliases Roger, Wilmer, and Alejandro were neutralized.
“In the military command structure of this organization, comrade Cirilo carried out security activities for narcotrafficking,” Peruvian Minister of Defense Jorge Chávez Cresta said in a statement on the same day.
According to the minister, Cirilo allowed the movement of cocaine hydrochloride to certain areas in exchange for financing and logistics to expand the organization’s support bases in the southern VRAEM.
A soldier and a police officer also died during the clash. The operation took place in the Anchihuay district, Ayacucho region. Service members recovered three rifles and a gun, in addition to documentation and military supplies.
Alias Cirilo’s group was part of the Shining Path’s so-called “main force,” under the orders of alias Antonio.
“Its members were responsible for an ambush in March against a National Police convoy in the community of Aguas Verdes, where two civilians died,” the ministries of Defense and the Interior said in a joint statement.
From 1980 to 2000, the armed conflict between the Shining Path and the Peruvian state left 69,280 people dead or missing, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR, in Spanish) said.
“These figures exceed the number of human losses Peru suffered in all the external and civil wars in its 182 years of independence,” the CVR said in a report.
In recent months, the Armed Forces have implemented a strategy of siege and constant harassment against remnants of the Shining Path in the VRAEM, with the help of National Police intelligence.
The measure led to desertions in the organization. In January, for instance, seven remnants of the Shining Path abandoned their column, the ministries of Defense and the Interior reported.