Police Arrest 2 Guerrillas Wanted for 7 Killings in Peru

LIMA – Two suspected Shining Path guerrillas were arrested by the National Police in connection with five attacks that left seven people dead, Peruvian media reported.

The guerrillas were captured in Aucayama, a town in Huaral province, while on what police described as a “rest” break, the N news channel said.

The suspects participated in several attacks in the Upper Huallaga Valley.

The Huallaga region is one of Peru’s main coca-growing and cocaine production areas.

The unidentified guerrillas were under the command of “Comrade Ruben,” who was killed in May by the security forces, National Police counterterrorism unit chief Gen. Edwin Palomino told the news channel.

Four police officers were among the people killed by the guerrillas, Palomino said.

A prosecutor from the city of Tingo Maria participated in the suspects’ arrest, the news channel said.

The Shining Path’s remnants operate in the Upper Huallaga Valley under the command of Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, known as “Comrade Artemio,” and in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE, region under Victor Quispe Palomino, alias “Comrade Jose.”

Some 200 guerrillas operate in the VRAE region, which accounts for 76 percent of the cocaine produced in Peru, officials said recently, citing police intelligence reports.

The VRAE is a drug production and shipment center where the guerrillas work with drug traffickers, who have built illegal drug labs in remote areas in the Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Cuzco regions.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said in June that Peru had surpassed Colombia as the world’s leading source of coca, producing 119,000 metric tons of the leaf in 2009.

The United States is offering rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the capture of Comrade Artemio and Comrade Jose.

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