LIMA – A leader of one of the remnants of Peru’s Shining Path guerrilla group has been captured, President Ollanta Humala said.
Fabian Huaman was in charge of the “organic and military reconstruction” of the illegal armed group in the coca-growing Huallaga River Valley, Humala said.
The arrest of Huaman, who went by the alias “Hector,” foiled the rebel group’s plan to reorganize its forces, the president said.
Huaman was captured as a result of a joint National Police and army intelligence operation, the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry said in a joint statement.
The guerrilla was put in charge of the Shining Path’s Huallaga Regional Committee in Huanuco region following the February 2012 arrest of Florindo Flores Hala, who was known as “Comrade Artemio” and was the rebel group’s last historical leader.
Flores Hala is serving a life prison term after being convicted on terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
Huaman was in charge of “drawing in and recruiting new fighters,” who were enlisted to run extortion rackets targeting loggers, drug traffickers, business owners and ranchers, officials said.
The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.
A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising.
The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.
Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, known to his fanatic followers as “President Gonzalo,” was captured with his top lieutenants on Sept. 12, 1992, an event that marked the “defeat” of the insurgency.
The guerrilla leader, who was a professor of philosophy at San Cristobal University before initiating his armed struggle in the Andean city of Ayacucho, once predicted that 1 million Peruvians would probably have to die in the ushering-in of the new state envisioned by Shining Path.
The group became notorious for some of its innovations, such as blowing apart with dynamite the bodies of community service workers its members killed, or hanging stray canines from lampposts as warnings to “capitalist dogs.”