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Peru: Drug-funded rebels kill 2 soldiers

Peru: Drug-funded rebels kill 2 soldiers

Leftist Shining Path rebels killed two soldiers in a shootout Wednesday along a well-known drug-smuggling route in central Peru, officials said.
Soldiers clashed with rebels twice Wednesday morning while pursuing a rebel column near the community of San Antonio de Carrizal, a high, jungle mountain town on a principal smuggling route out of Peru's top coca-growing valley, Defense Minister Rafael Rey said.
Rey said two army sergeants were killed in the initial shootout and patrols continued in pursuit of the rebels.
Soldiers killed at least four rebels and captured two assault rifles, Rey said.
"The trails of blood confirm the deaths" and that the rebels were transporting wounded when they fled, Rey said. He did not say if soldiers had recovered any cadavers or whether any rebels were arrested.
Since Peru's military moved against a Shining Path stronghold in the southern coca-growing Apurimac and Ene River valley last September, rebels have killed 36 soldiers and six police officers. The rebel death toll is unknown.
Analysts say security forces have failed to put a dent in the region's drug trade or the rebel group, which has withdrawn to more remote, mountainous regions above the valley, including San Antonio de Carrizal.
Earlier this month, a column of 60 rebels killed three police officers and two women in an assault on a remote police post in San Jose de Secce, a southern mountain town in Ayacucho province on another drug-smuggling route out of the valley.
The once 10,000-strong Shining Path nearly brought the government to its knees but has been largely dormant since the capture of its leader, Abimael Guzman, in 1992.
About 400 members of the Maoist-inspired group remain active, however, funding themselves from the cocaine trade.


Updated : 2020-12-04 01:34 GMT+08:00