Young Peruvian Escapes Shining Path After 17 Years

SenderistaPeruvian authorities on Wednesday said the military in the Cusco area of Kimbiri rescued a young man who had been held hostage by remnants of the Shining Path for 17 years, according to state news agency Andina.

The youth, Roger Guevara, was taken from his mother when he was six months old and had been held by the Shining Path in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valleys, a remote, mountainous, jungle region in south-central Peru.

According to Andina, Guevara was taken from his mother, who was 15 years old at the time, in the Ayacucho province of Vizcatan, an area that witnessed extreme violence in the 1980-2000 internal conflict.  Guevara said he had been brought up by his mother’s sister, “Comrade Vilma”, married to a Shining Path rebel leader.

Guevara said he escaped from the Shining Path in the VRAEM while he was doing surveillance for the rebels.

Both Guevara and his mother are in Huancayo, in the central highlands, where they are being given military protection.

The Shining Path launched a violent campaign to overthrow the state in 1980. The group was largely defeated in the 1990s with the capture of its leader, Abimael Guzman.

A splinter group of the Shining Path, however, has managed to survive in the VRAEM region, where it is now largely involved in the cocaine trade, both producing cocaine and providing protection for producers and traffickers. They regularly attack and kill police and military involved in counter-drug operations.

Peruvian officials have reported that the Shining Path has used children to fight for them. In 2012, President Ollanta Humala announced that police rescued 10 children who were being trained in a camp by the rebels.

University Student Arrested in Ayacucho

Meanwhile, in Ayacucho, police this week reported the arrest of a San Cristobal de Huamanga university student on charges of being a Shining Path rebel. Alex Prado was detained when he was travelling on a truck in Ocros, in Huamanga province, carrying hammer-and-sickle banners and “subversive material”, police said.  According to police, Prado is linked to two students arrested five years ago, in 2008, who said they had been forced into military training at a rebel camp in the VRAEM.  Another student and a students’ union leader disappeared at the time and are on the police wanted list on charges of being involved with the Shining Path.  Prado is to face trial in the national criminal court in Ayacucho.

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