A group of alleged Shining Path rebels attacked a police station in the department of Cusco, injuring two police officers.
The attack took place in the early hours of Monday morning in the province of La Convencion, Cusco (see map below), and lasted nearly three hours. The group of 20 suspected rebels apparently used long range firearms and explosives, according to Peruvian news website Peru 21.
Sixteen officers managed to withstand the attack, though two received minor injuries. They have since been flown to a nearby hospital in the city of Quillabamba.
InSight Crime Analysis
According to officials cited in the Peru 21 report, the attack could be the work of rebels loyal to the leader of the Shining Path in the lawless Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE), alias “Comrade Jose.” They were likely carried out in retaliation for counter-narcotics efforts by authorities in the VRAE, a crucial drug-producing and trafficking region for the Shining Path.
President Ollanta Humala vowed to bring order to the VRAE soon after coming to power·last year, promising to eradicate “narco-terrorism” once and for all in the area. However, thanks largely to the area’s wild terrain, and the history of the Shining Path’s presence there, he has so far been unable to impose any working security policy, instead opting to declare a temporary state of emergency in the region last year.
Recent estimates put the number of Shining Path rebels operating in the VRAE at 500, down from highs of more than 20,000 during the 1980s and early 1990s. Despite the dwindling numbers, this attack suggests the guerrillas can still wage a war of attrition against the security forces, carrying out small-scale reprisals that require few rebel troops.
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