Five Military Officers Killed, Five Wounded In VRAE Attack

Peru’s Joint Armed Forces Command said Thursday that Shining Path rebels ambushed a military patrol in the eastern-jungle province of Satipo, killing five soldiers and wounding five others.  The soldiers were on night patrol about one kilometer from their base at Mazangaro.

The incident is the latest in a string of attacks on the Shining Path remnants that have been able to prosper in the Apurimac and Ene river valleys thanks to profits from Peru’s expanding cocaine trade.

The armed forces said in a statement that medical treatment has been provided to the wounded, and the soldiers killed have been removed from the zone. It added that the military would intensify the search for the rebels.

“The Joint Command of the Armed Forces expresses its deepest condolences to the families of these brave defenders of the homeland,” the statement said.  The soldiers were Sgts Willian Tuesta, Ever Chavez, Fabian Fonseca, Segundo Amasifuen, and Cpl. Junior Pozo, all aged between 20 and 23. 

The Ombudsman’s office and the Legal Defense Institute, IDL, have criticized the armed forces for sending very young soldiers with scarcely any training and less experience to patrol the valleys.

According to the former Defense Ministers Daniel Mora and Roberto Chiabra, both retired army generals, the troops sent to the area are inexperienced and often commit mistakes and do not follow safety protocols.  They also said it is essential that the state create stronger links with the population through the building of schools, roads and health services in order to build trust with the local population. “We need more human intelligence,” Mora said, adding that he believed the information will only be forthcoming when the population, threatened by the drug traffickers and rebels, feel the state and thus the military are on their side. 

Some 300 Shining Path rebels are believed to operate in the VRAE under the leadership of the Quispe Palomino brothers.

The group was responsible in April for the kidnapping of almost 40 workers from the natural gas installations in the province of La Convencion, in north Cusco. The workers were released unharmed only a few days after the kidnapping, but the situation turned into a political crisis for President Ollanta Humala when military and police officers sent into the zone to capture the insurgents were ambushed. Ten state security personnel were killed during the ensuing days.

While the Shining Path has significantly less muscle than in the 1980s and 1990s, when it threatened to overturn the Peruvian state, and bears little similarity to the initial Maoist ideology, the latest incidents highlight its strength in the VRAE.

The Shining Path was responsible for thousands of deaths in Peru during its bloody battle with the state. The ideologically-driven group largely folded in the early 1990s with the capture of Abimael Guzman, its founding leader.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *