Defense Minister: Peru and Colombia intelligence agencies share information on ties between rebel groups

Peruvian and Colombian intelligence agencies have cooperated closely by sharing information on an alleged relation between Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels and remnants of the Shining Path insurgency in Peru, Defense Minister Rafael Rey said Monday.

“We work with Colombia in a very efficient manner and I want to thank them for the services they provide and the information is very useful for internal matters,” state-run news agency Andina quoted Rey as saying.

“I was in Bogota recently meeting with the Minister of Defense (Gabriel Silva) and with the Foreign Secretary (Jaime Bermúdez), along with Peruvian Foreign Secretary (José García Belaunde). We had a meeting with the Colombian intelligence service, a country we work closely with.”

Rey’s statement followed an article published by Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that alleged a deceased senior FARC commander was providing training to the Shining Path.

According to El Tiempo, Colombian intelligence officers found documents on the computer of Raúl Reyes – the former No. 2 FARC rebel leader – suggesting one of his aims was to strengthen the Shining Path.

“Friends of comrade José (alias of one of the Shining Path’s leaders) has sent us an urgent message to collect them along the border, where we had the last meeting,” Reyes allegedly wrote in 2007. “They are going to give us a large and generous contribution. In exchange they know that we can give them training.”

Colombian commandos killed Reyes and 20 other members of that country’s largest rebel group during a raid on a guerrilla encampment in Ecuador’s northern jungle in 2008.

The military incursion into Ecuador set off a diplomatic crisis with both Venezuela and Ecuador deploying troops to their borders with Colombia and breaking off diplomatic relations with Bogota.

Authorities in Colombia responded by saying Colombian commandos found documents on the computer of Raúl Reyes suggesting that Venezuela and Ecuador had been providing finances to the guerrilla group.

The Shining Path has been largely dormant since 2000. The once 10,000-strong Maoist rebel group nearly brought Peru’s government to its knees during the 1980s with car bombings, assassinations and brazen attacks on police and military outposts.

Nevertheless, sporadic Shining Path attacks still claim lives every year, mainly in the area that covers the Apurímac and Ene river valley’s, known as the VRAE.

The area includes 31 districts in the departments of Ayacucho, Junin, Huancavelica and Cusco, and is one of the country’s top producers of coca leaf – the raw material used to make cocaine – where police and military personnel are routinely confronted by remnants of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency that rely on drug trafficking for funding.

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