Peru: Shining Path Leader Considers His Group Defeated

By Dialogo
December 08, 2011

The Shining Path guerrilla group has been defeated and is not going to attack again, said “Comrade Artemio,” considered the leader of a remnant of that organization.

In an interview granted to a Peruvian media outlet, in the jungle of Alto Huallaga, in the country’s southeast, José Flores, alias “Artemio,” said that Shining Path’s current position is “a defensive one, militarily speaking,” and that “there aren’t going to be any kind of attacks. That I can guarantee.”

Shining Path was dismantled in the mid-1990s, and its chief leaders are serving life sentences after an internal conflict that left around 70,000 dead, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The group currently has remnants in the country’s two chief coca-producing areas, Alto Huallaga and the Apurímac and Ene River Valley, with a total of around 300 men, according to analysts. The Government accuses Shining Path of collaborating in guarding the illicit coca crops.

In September, an attack on a military helicopter attributed to Shining Path caused the deaths of two officers. Other sporadic attacks have also caused the deaths of military personnel.

Immediately afterward, the Peruvian Government said that it was ready to put an end to the remnants of Shining Path and their alliances with drug cartels, as Peruvian Prime Minister Salomón Lerner affirmed on a visit to the United States.