Peruvian Police Officer Missing in Combat with Guerrilla Group Turns Up Alive

By Dialogo
May 01, 2012

One of the two police officers reported missing two weeks ago while engaged in operations against the Shining Path guerrilla group in southeastern Peru turned up alive on April 29, the interior minister announced.

“Sergeant Luis Astuquillca Vásquez of the Peruvian National Police has turned up alive and in good health in the locality of Kiteni, in the district of Echarate, in the province of La Convención, in Cusco (in southeastern Peru),” an official statement indicated.

He turned up “thanks to the action of the civilian population, which turned out to support the unceasing search by members of the forces of order,” the document added, emphasizing that Astuquillca also survived due to “his abilities and training in survival.”

The minister noted that the search continues for Sergeant César Vilca Vega, the other agent who “disappeared during operations against the criminal terrorists of the VRAE (Apurimac and Ene River Valley).”

Astuquillca disappeared on April 12 amid Army and police operations in search of 36 employees of a gas firm who had been kidnapped on April 9 and were released five days later by Shining Path.

The mayor of the province of La Convención, Fedia Castro, informed the broadcaster Radioprogramas del Perú that the agent was receiving care at the health center in Kiteni, a jungle town.

The police officer reached that locality on his own, with a bullet wound in his right thigh and showing symptoms of dehydration, but is in stable condition, according to the station’s report.

The disappearance of the two agents gave rise to a massive mobilization in search of them, by combined Army and police patrols.