LIMA – One civilian died and four others were wounded in a military anti-terrorist operation conducted in Peru’s main coca-growing valley, the Joint Armed Forces Command (CCFFAA) said in a communique made public on Thursday.
The document states that intelligence reports were that remnants of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas operating in the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers – a region known as VRAEM – were planning to attack the Mazangaro counterterrorism base in the central province of Junin.
The intelligence information indicated that the guerrillas were going to plant explosives along the paths leading to the base’s monitoring posts and so on Wednesday the military launched “a deterrent air operation to neutralize the said threat.”
After the incident, army troops provided first aid to civilians wounded in the strike and evacuated them to the town of Pichari, in the southern Cuzco region.
“Due to the seriousness of his wounds, Mr. Paulino Huaman Vilcapoma was evacuated by air to the city of Ayacucho, regrettably dying during the journey,” said the document.
The CCFFAA commander, Vice-Admiral Luis Cueto Aservi, said in the communique that the appropriate investigation has been launched to determine responsibility in the incident.
The VRAEM includes very difficult-to-access jungle communities in the provinces of Ayacucho, Cuzco, Junin and Apurimac, where remnants of Shining Path operate in alliance with drug traffickers.