Local authorities in Junin call for greater gov’t presence following military, Shining Path confrontation

Authorities in Junin region’s Jauja province have called on greater presence of Peru’s government following a confrontation between state security forces and suspected Shining Path guerrillas that left one army captain dead.

The lieutenant governor of Rondayacu, the village where the shootout took place, would only speak to CNR news service on condition her name was not broadcast, for fear of reprisals. She said that residents in the area mainly plant sugar cane and bananas, among others. The authority denied that the region is heavily involved in the drug trade.

The authority called on the government to provide basic services such as health centers for local residents as well as improve communication between districts.

Earlier this week, Captain Illich Montesinos Quiroz was killed when his patrol confronted the suspected Shining Path insurgents in Junin’s Rondayacu ravine, which is part of the coca growing Apurimac and Ene river valley’s (VRAE).

A member of the rebel group was also killed in the confrontation, daily El Comercio reported.

The VRAE is one of Peru’s top coca growing regions along with the Upper Huallaga Valley in Huanuco region. Splinter groups of the Shining Path operate in both areas, where they control certain coca production areas and generate their income from illegal drug trafficking.

Peru is the world’s top producer of the coca leaf and second biggest producer of cocaine, according to the United Nations 2010 World Drug Report.

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