The Minister of Defense of Peru, Nuria Esparch, affirmed this Tuesday that “The death of the sailor who died on Monday during the last attack by the remnant of the Shining Path will not remain here” to the armed forces.
“We have started actions to find those responsible,” said Esparch after visiting with the Prime Minister, Violeta Bermúdez, the other three sailors who were injured in the same ambush and who are currently stable in the Naval Medical Center.
The attack took place against a convoy of three hovercraft in the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Valley (VRAEM), the stronghold of the remnant of the Shining Path terrorist group and in turn the largest coca growing basin in Peru, where a good part of the cocaine produced by the country, the second world producer of this drug, originates.
In this area dominated by the drug trafficking, the Peruvian authorities assure that the terrorist remnant, which calls itself the Militarized Communist Party of Peru (MPCP), acts in collusion with drug traffickers, to whom they allegedly provide security in the transport of drugs in exchange for financing.
The minister considered that the attack was “a revenge” for the latest anti-drug operations carried out in the VRAEM by the police and the armed forces, which in the last five weeks have seized around a ton of “cocaine substances”.
He also highlighted the type of weapons used by the subversives in this attack, since a video recorded from a witness’s mobile phone shows A large-caliber machine gun that peppers the hovercraft with multiple bursts that sailed down the Apurimac River.
“This means that ‘narco-terrorism’ is being armed, but we are prepared to fight,” said Esparch, who along with other authorities also received the body of the Navy officer Gustavo Valladares at the military air base at the Lima airport.
The president of Peru, Francisco Sagasti, was also present at the event, who the day before condemned the attack and expressed his condolences to the victim’s family.
This attack occurred less than two months after another ambush by the remnant of Sendero Luminoso claimed the lives of a policeman and a soldier from the Peruvian Army, in addition to injuring five other members of the same patrol, who were surprised by mines. placed by suspected terrorists.
Lag of internal conflict
The VRAEM is the last active scene of the bloody internal armed conflict (1980-2000) unleashed in Peru by the Maoist group Sendero Luminoso and the Marxist Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), which caused some 69,000 deaths, according to the final report of the Commission. of Truth and Reconciliation (CVR).
In addition to serving as a hiding place for the subversives, the VRAEM is the main coca-growing basin in Peru, where it is half of the more than 50,000 hectares of illicit coca leaf crops that exist in the country, and that produce 70% of the 411 tons of cocaine that is estimated to be exported annually from Peru.
It is a large area of mountainous and rugged jungle on the eastern slope of the Andes that partially covers up to four regions of the Peruvian territory.
The last of Sendero
The self-styled MPCP is led by the brothers Víctor and Jorge Quispe Palomino (“comrade José” and “comrade Raúl”, respectively), without the authorities knowing exactly how many men they have under their command, although it is estimated that there are between one and two hundreds.
These leaders took control of the Shining Path in the VRAEM at the end of the 1990s, when the entire leadership of the organization was captured.
However, the founder of Sendero, Abimael Guzmán, who is serving a life sentence in a naval base, does not recognize them as such and they do not follow orders from the nicknamed “Chairman Gonzalo.”
However, prior to Guzmán’s capture in 1992, the two brothers participated in various criminal acts by Sendero in their bloody crusade to imitate China’s people’s war and install a Maoist regime in Peru.
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