Peru Seeks to Strengthen Security for Threatened Mayors

Pedraza, WilfredoInterior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza has promised to beef up security for mayors throughout Peru who have been the targets of an increasing number of threats, state news agency Andina reported.

In a meeting with Peru’s municipal association, AMPE, Pedraza recognized that there are “more and more local authorities threatened for different reasons.”

Pedraza said that police are working on ways to improve security and identify those who are behind the threats. “We will improve communication and we’ll know how to respond efficiently against reports of this nature,” he said.

Since December, at least four local officials outside of Lima have been killed by assassins, leading some lawmakers to call for a national emergency.

In March, the mayor of Camporredondo, in Amazonas region, was gunned down by a masked man near a police station. The mayor, Wilder Cieza, had received threats.

In February, the regional vice president of Amazonas, Augusto Wong, a physician, was killed by an under-aged assassin at his private health clinic. He had also received several threats prior to his murder.

In December, the mayor of Angasmarca in La Libertad region in northern Peru was murdered by hitmen while handing out toys. The mayor of Casma, in the central Ancash region, was also killed by hitmen in December.

Other small-town mayors have also reported threats from criminal gangs seeking money.

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