Peru Extends State of Emergency in Rebel Heartland

Peru has extended a state of emergency that imposes military rule in a region known as the VRAE, which is a coca-growing stronghold for the Shining Path rebel group.

The measure applies to regions in the departments of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Cusco and Junin, which make up the area known as the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE), reports RPP.

The measure will apply retrospectively for 60 days from November 1. It suspends some civil rights and puts the armed forces in charge of public order in the areas where it applies.

The first 60 days of the state of emergency in the VRAE ended on October 31, but the government failed to renew the decree before it expired, in what El Comercio said was an administrative oversight.

President Ollanta Humala, who took office in July, has vowed to bring security to the troubled VRAE region, a remote area which is home to most of Peru’s coca cultivation. Two soldiers died in an attack by the Shining Path on an army helicopter in September.