Peru Police officers accused of leading highway gang in bus robberies

Two veteran police officers have been arrested for allegedly leading a highway gang that assaulted and plundered passenger buses in southern Peru. According to daily La República, officers Manuel Isidro Arias Calla, 40, and Raúl Fernán García Montes, 46, were arrested on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning in the city of Tacna, capital of Tacna Department.

The arrest follows the apprehension of a 30-year-old man who was allegedly part of the group, which preyed on passenger buses en route to Chile on Sunday. The man reportedly identified the police officers as the leaders of the group.

Passenger buses are periodically robbed on Peru’s highways, which lack proper surveillance. On Tuesday night, for instance, 150 passengers in three buses destined for Lima were robbed by eight gunmen in Ayacucho Department. A 24-year-old man was killed in the assault, Radio Programas radio reported.

However, the director of the Office for Highway Protection, General Víctor Ordinola, told Radio Programas that highway robberies have steadily decreased since 2005. Last year, for instance, 94 robberies were reported compared to 134 cases in 2006 and 172 in 2005.

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