Peru: Two Soldiers Dead in Attack Attributed to Shining Path

By Dialogo
August 27, 2009

LIMA, 26 August 2009 (AFP) - At least two soldiers died on Wednesday in an attack on a military patrol in southeastern Peru by presumed members of the Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path (SL), the army announced. The patrol, from a counter-subversion base, was traveling along a road in the Andean region of the department of Huancavelica, 440 km southeast of Lima, when it was attacked by the Shining Path guerrillas, setting off a confrontation, according to the report. “The military patrol was ambushed,” AFP was told by a source from the Armed Forces Joint Command, who requested anonymity. The Defense Minister, Rafael Rey, told Lima broadcaster RPP that two soldiers were killed and “it is estimated that there were at least four deaths on the Shining Path side,” although this has not been confirmed. Rey said that the incident took place during “an action in pursuit of the terrorist Raúl and his people,” referring to Shining Path leader Jorge Quispe Palomino, known as “Comrade Raúl.” “The pursuit of this group continues,” Rey specified. This confrontation, the minister said, is part of the military strategy being carried out in the country in order to put an end to the groups classified as remnants of Shining Path. “It was evident that there was going to be (a confrontation), and there will be more in the future due to the application of this strategy,” he added. SL maintains active columns that are considered to be remnants of the organization, which was defeated military in the mid-1990s and the principal leaders of which are imprisoned. These columns, according to the intelligence services and analysts of political violence, are allied with bands of drug traffickers in two regions of the country: the valley of the Upper Huallaga, which extends northward from the central jungle, and the valley of the Ene and Apurímac Rivers, known as the VRAE, in the southeast of the country. Wednesday’s ambush occurred in the VRAE, a coca-growing region that is under a state of emergency and military control. At the beginning of August, three police and two women were killed in an SL attack on a police station in the town of San José de Secce. The deadliest attack this year took place on 9 April, when fifteen troops died in an ambush in the VRAE.
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