LIMA – An officer was killed Thursday as guerrillas attacked an army patrol in southern Peru’s Ayacucho region, the Armed Forces Joint Command said.
The fatality was identified as Capt. German Parra del Carpio.
He was leading a patrol from the Union Mantaro army base, located in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, known as the VRAE, when armed assailants appeared and opened fire, the Joint Command said in a statement.
President Ollanta Humala, Defense Minister Alberto Otarola and Joint Command chief Luis Howell will preside over the funeral of the dead officer, described in the statement as a “hero of democracy.”
Thursday’s attack is typical of the tactics of the remnants of the Shining Path rebel group operating in the coca-growing VRAE area, journalist Pedro Yaranga told ATV+ television.
“One or two (guerrillas) monitor soldiers’ movements, they shoot and then they immediately withdraw,” Yaranga, regarded as an expert on the insurgents, said.
The assault in the VRAE came days after the last of Shining Path’s original leaders, “Comrade Artemio,” was captured in the Upper Huallaga Valley.
The Shining Path faction in the VRAE, led by “Comrade Jose,” has been at odds with Artemio’s fighters.
The government has made the elimination of the Shining Path’s remnants a priority. The Maoist-inspired group launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.
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.
A 2003 truth commission blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence between 1980 and 2000. EFE