LIMA – A clash between police and suspected members of the Shining Path rebel group left two guerrillas dead, Peruvian officials said Friday.
National Police director Miguel Hidalgo told Canal N television that one of those killed was “Comrade Ruben,” part of the leadership of Shining Path in the Upper Huallaga Valley, northeast of Lima.
The battle took place Thursday night in the jungle outside the city of Aucayacu.
Besides killing three rebels, police captured two others and seized grenades, ammunition, two-way radios and Shining Path leaflets, Gen. Marlon Savitzky told Canal N.
Peruvian security forces’ struggle against the remnants of the once-mighty Shining Path is concentrated in the Upper Huallaga and in the southern territory known as the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE.
Both areas are characterized by production of coca, the raw material for cocaine.
Peru, according to International Narcotics Control Board figures, is the world’s second-largest producer of coca and cocaine in the world, with more than 56,000 hectares (138,272 acres) under cultivation.
Shining Path works with drug traffickers, according to officials, who say 43 soldiers have died in guerrilla ambushes in the VRAE and the Upper Huallaga Valley since 2008.
The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.
A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed Shining Path for more than half of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence between 1980 and 2000.
The insurgency was broken by the 1992 capture of founder and leader Abimael Guzman, now serving a life sentence in the brig at a navy base near Lima. From prison, he has denounced the Shining Path elements in the VRAE and Upper Huallaga Valley as “mercenaries.” EFE