One Soldier Killed, Four Injured in Attack on Military in VRAEM

An attack on a temporary military base on the Quinua Highway project in Peru’s Ayacucho region left at least one soldier dead and four injured, according to media reports.

Newspaper El Comercio reported that the attack was carried out by alleged members of the Shining Path rebels, who operate in the area known strategically as the VRAEM, which encompasses the valleys of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers in southern Peru.

The attack occurred at a temporary based located on the highway between Chalhuamayo and the town of San Francisco, within the VRAEM.

In addition to the injured soldiers, a civilian was also wounded in the attack. The wounded were taken to the Ayna San Francisco hospital.

After a period of relative calm, this is the second attack so far this month by alleged remnants of the Shining Path on state security forces.

In the lead up to the October 5 regional and municipal elections, two police officers were killed and at least five others injured when they were ambushed by Shining Path fighters in the VRAEM as they were transporting election material.

The Shining Path has dwindled in size since its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and analysts say the remaining rebels share little if any of the original Maoist ideology and are instead heavily entrenched in the drug trade.

The VRAEM is now the country’s largest coca-producing area, providing a large part of the world’s cocaine supply.  Peru is the world’s top cocaine producer.

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