One soldier killed and another wounded during attack on military base

Peru’s Joint Command of the Armed Forces says one soldier was killed and another wounded when Shining Path guerrillas attacked a military counter-terrorist base Friday morning in the country’s isolated Apurímac and Ene River Valleys, or VRAE.

According to Radio Programas Peru, the rebel group used long range weapons to attack the Bajo Somabeni base in Satipo province, located in the department of Junín and about nine hours east of Lima in Peru’s central Amazon region.

Second Sergeant Ronald Wilson Gabriel Romero was killed in the attack and First Sergeant Alan Olivera was wounded. Olivera was later transferred to a military base in Pichari, in the department of Cusco.

The isolated VRAE is a hotbed for drug traffickers and their hired guns — mostly guerrilla remnants of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency — who regularly carry out deadly roadside ambushes against police and assassinate local officials in retaliation for raids on cocaine processing labs.

Peru is the world’s second largest manufacturer of cocaine, after Colombia. A report by the International Narcotics Control Board, however, said the country’s growing illicit cultivation of coca leaf – the raw material used to make cocaine – and consequent drug supply could surpass Colombia in five to 10 years.

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