LIMA – Three suspected guerrillas were captured by army troops in Huancavelica, a region in southern Peru, the Armed Forces Joint Command said.
The men, who are all related, were detained early Wednesday at a house outside Tintay Puncu, a district in Tayacaja province, and had ammunition and communications gear.
The suspected rebels had 7.62 mm ammunition for FAL rifles, three hand grenades, a Motorola radio, guerrilla training materials, medicines and other equipment.
The suspects and the property seized in the raid were turned over to prosecutors, the command said in a statement.
The armed forces and National Police are battling the remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla group in southern Peru’s Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers, or VRAEM.
President Ollanta Humala said last week that a Shining Path commander was killed in a firefight with the army and police in the jungles of the VRAEM.
The rebel commander died in a clash with the security forces around 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 5 in Llochegua, an area in Huanta province, which is in the southern region of Ayacucho, the president said.
Comrade Williams staged attacks on military bases in recent years, including the 2009 attack on the Mazangaro base in Satipo province that left 14 soldiers dead.
The Shining Path, which is led by the Quispe Palomino brothers, uses snipers to continually attack military bases in the VRAEM and ambush patrols.
The Shining Path operates in the coca-growing VRAEM region under Victor Quispe Palomino, known as “Comrade Jose.”
The rebels have joined forces with drug cartels and producers of illegal coca, the raw material for cocaine, officials say.
The government has made the elimination of the Shining Path’s remnants a priority.
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.” EFE