Fifteen suspected Shining Path rebels arrested; Peruvian officer killed

Fifteen suspected Shining Path guerrillas were arrested Monday after a confrontation with Peru’s military that killed one officer and left another wounded in the country’s isolated Apurímac and Ene River Valleys, or VRAE.
Officer Carlos Ventura of Peru’s Air Force was shot in the chest and later died on the way to a hospital in the province of Concepción, located about 185 miles east of Lima in the Junín department, reported Radio Programas Peru.

Defense Minister Rafael Rey says the confrontation was part of a military operation to capture drug traffickers and their hired guns – mostly remnants of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency – rather than the result of an ambush by the rebels against the military patrol. “This was our initiative,” the state news agency Andina reported Rey saying. “It was an operation to intercept a narco-terrorist column.”

The district attorney in Concepción, Manuel Medina, however, told daily El Comercio that seven or eight rebels positioned in the surrounding hills ambushed the military patrol.

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.

As the Peruvian Times reported last April, Shining Path guerrillas staged one of the deadliest terrorist operations in years after they ambushed and killed 13 soldiers in the VRAE using dynamite and grenades.

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