Peru: Service Members Strengthen Fight Against Narcotrafficking in VRAEM
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo September 14, 2020
Amid the state of emergency due to COVID-19, the Peruvian Armed Forces have taken on a triple battle against terrorism, narcotrafficking, and the pandemic.
Services members have intensified their operations in the coca-growing Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM, in Spanish), where remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group have partnered with narcotraffickers and attacked military facilities.
“In July, the Armed Forces and the National Police disabled 17 clandestine airstrips in the Huánuco and Pasco regions,” the Peruvian Armed Forces Joint Command (CCFFAA, in Spanish) said in a press release.
On July 1, service members captured a member of the Shining Path known as “comrade Norma,” age 18. The arrest took place in the Vizcatán del Ene district, following a gunfight with other members of the group who were able to escape. Prosecutors will determine if Norma belongs to the “captive population,” that is a group of people that the Shining Path has kidnapped or indoctrinated since early childhood, the website Canal N reported.
On June 27, service members captured six alleged narcoterrorists in a drug lab in the Alto Parhuamayo area. The alleged criminals had two AKM rifles, three pistols, and more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride, in addition to 5 tons of chemical precursors (acetone, hydrochloric acid, and ammonia), CCFFAA said.
In May and June, the Peruvian Army captured alleged narcoterrorists carrying war weapons in the Canayre district.
Service members also provided humanitarian support to native communities such as Poyeni, Sheboja, and Betania, the most vulnerable ones in Peru. In June, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, troops provided more than 2,800 medical consultations and 1,244 COVID-19 tests, of which 68 came back positive.