Rebel leader says Peru’s Shining Path terrorist group ‘defeated’
LIMA – One of Peru’s Shining Path remaining active leaders has stated that the terrorist group has been “defeated”, according to media reports.
Comrade Artemio made his comments to a group of reporters in a jungle hide out in northern Peru, according to the BBC. He said that the he and the remaining members around him are prepared to talk to the government to end their rebellion.
The rebels would be prepared to hand over their weapons if the government is serious in pursuing an end to the armed conflict.
It is not clear if Artemio speaks for all remaining factions of the Shining Path guerrillas.
In response, Peru’s defense minister, Daniel Mora, said that the Peruvian government will not negotiate with Artemio, and that the best thing for him and his family is to submit himself to the law.
He would be given a fair trial, as Mora classified him as an extortionist, sequestrator, criminal, terrorist and narco-trafficker.
Mora also commented on the TV program, “Buenos días Perú”, that the army knows of Artemio’s movements and that his capture is imminent.
The Maoist Shining Path rose in 1980 to battle what they considered to be Peru’s fraudulent democracy and establish a communist government. During the group’s peak, 70,000 people died in conflicts during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Shining Path’s main leader and founder, Abimael Gúzman, was captured in 1992 during a campaign to abolish the group by former president, Alberto Fujimori, in 1992.
Remnants of the guerrilla group have remained active, primarily in Peru’s jungle regions, producing cocaine. Clashes with police and the army still occur as the government launches its campaign in the fight against drugs. A soldier recently lost his life when guerrillas attacked an army base used to launch campaigns in the fight against drugs.