LIMA – Two coca growers were killed and four others were wounded in a clash in the central region of Huanuco, the Peruvian National Police, or PNP, said.
The victims of Tuesday’s clash have reportedly been identified as Juan Espinoza Jaimes and Reider Roque Romero, while the four wounded were hit by shrapnel from tear gas bombs and three are under medical observation in the city of Tingo Maria, though none is in serious condition, the Huallaga Front Police Command said in a statement.
The Ombudsman’s Office representative in Huanuco, Pier Paolo Ricardo Marzo, had told Efe earlier that five coca growers died and 13 others were wounded in the clash with police.
On Tuesday morning, between 800 and 1,000 coca growers in the Monzon district tried to impede the eradication of illegal plantations of coca – the raw material of cocaine – in the Tamshi zone, Rupa Rupa district, the PNP said.
That operation had been organized by the Special Project for the Control and Reduction of Illegal Crops in the Upper Huallaga, or CORAH, with the support of the National Police, officials said.
Coca growers from Monzon attacked the CORAH personnel with blunt objects even though the eradication work was not targeting that district, which is located across the Monzon River from Tamshi, the PNP said.
“Some coca growers were reportedly wielding shotguns,” the PNP said, adding that the officers used tear gas and fired gunshots into the air to repel the attack.
The PNP said the clash is being investigated by its criminal investigation division and inspector general’s office and by prosecutors.
Peru, like neighboring Bolivia, allows cultivation of coca in limited amounts for legal uses in cooking, folk medicine and Andean religious rites. EFE