Guerrillas kill soldier, wound 12 others in Peru

Lima –  A soldier was killed and five others were wounded when guerrillas ambushed an army vehicle in La Mar, a province in Peru’s southern Ayacucho region, while seven others were wounded when rebels attacked a helicopter in the same area, the armed forces Joint Command said.

Army Spc. Leoncio Mendoza, who was driving the vehicle, died in Monday’s attack, another soldier sustained a gunshot wound four others were injured.

The soldiers, who were providing security for a field hospital, were ambushed around 2:00 p.m., the armed forces Joint Command said.

A helicopter taking part in the search for the guerrillas who ambushed the vehicle was attacked later in the day, leaving seven soldiers wounded.

The helicopter was hit near Centro Poblado de Machente, a town in La Mar, the armed forces Joint Command said.

The air force helicopter was attacked while dropping off special forces soldiers.

Maj. Victor Phillips del Castillo sustained gunshot wounds and six other soldiers were hit by shrapnel, the armed forces Joint Command said.

Armed forces personnel and National Police officers are patrolling the area with support from helicopters, the command said.

The attacks occurred a day after businessman and retired army Col. Oscar Valdes was sworn in as the new head of the Council of Ministers.

Valdes, who served as interior minister until Saturday, has ruled out the possibility of negotiating with the remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla group.

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