Police Capture Former Guerrilla Leader in Peru

LIMA – A man suspected of being a former high-level Shining Path guerrilla leader was captured in Lima while allegedly trying to recruit erstwhile members of the group in the Peruvian capital.

Teodoro Penadillo Carmen, known as “Comrade Rayo” and suspected of being the Shining Path’s former Huallaga Regional Committee chief, was paraded before reporters on Monday by National Police chief Miguel Hidalgo and Interior Minister Fernando Barrios.

Penadillo was arrested Monday by police counterterrorism unit agents in Lima’s San Juan de Miraflores neighborhood after intelligence indicated he was going to leave the capital and return to the Huallaga region, one of the areas where the Shining Path still operates.

Agents had been following Penadillo in Lima, where he arrived in May to allegedly recruit former rebels who served prison time for terrorism, Dircote counterterrorism unit chief Gen. Edwin Palomino said.

Penadillo was ordered by “Comrade Artemio,” the Shining Path’s last original leader still at large, to return to the Huallaga region in the wake of the arrest last week of one of the guerrilla group’s military commanders in the area.

Penadillo was to take over command of the rebel chief’s security squad, officials said.

An arrest warrant was outstanding for Penadillo, who participated in various clashes and attacks on police.

Edgar Mejia Asencio, a high-level guerrilla commander known as “Comrade Izula,” was captured last Wednesday in an operation that left two other rebels dead in a jungle area near the Huallaga River.

President Alan Garcia told Peruvian media after Mejia’s arrest that police were getting closer to capturing Artemio.

The government is offering a reward of 1 million soles ($358,000) for information leading to the capture of the Shining Path’s top leaders.

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