Peru Arrests ‘Successor’ to Captured Shining Path Leader

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Authorities in Peru say they have arrested the presumed successor to Shining Path leader “Comrade Artemio,” who was captured in February.

Walter Diaz Vega (alias “Freddy” or “Percy”) was allegedly in charge of reconstituting the armed column in the region of Upper Huallaga.

National police chief Raul Salazar said that the authorities had moved in quickly on Saturday to arrest Diaz, in order to prevent him from executing informants within the group who helped bring about Artemio’s capture.

InSight Crime Analysis

If Diaz was in fact the successor to Artemio, this would indicate that the group is severely weakened, and may have been thoroughly penetrated by the security forces.

As InSight Crime noted, Artemio’s capture left no clear successor, making it likely that the Upper Huallaga-based faction would disintegrate in his absence. The arrest of his alleged successor makes this seem still more probable.

However, it does not seem certain that Diaz was Artemio’s designated successor, only that he was one of the high-ranking members left in power after the capture. Two guerrillas known as “Tiburcio” and “Braulio” have also been named as possible leaders of what remains of the group.

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