HomeNewsBriefPeru Hostage Rescue Mission Used WWII Guns
BRIEF

Peru Hostage Rescue Mission Used WWII Guns

PERU / 31 AUG 2012 BY HANNAH STONE EN

Peruvian police, including an agent who spent 17 days lost in the jungle during a botched hostage rescue mission, said that the security forces had inadequate equipment to face Shining Path rebels, forcing them to use old guns and communicate by cell phone.

Luis Astuquillca told news show Primera Noticia that a mission launched in April, to rescue hostages from the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) guerrillas, was poorly supplied (see video below).

"We have obsolete equipment, old weapons ... we are using guns from World War II and the Vietnam War," said Astuquillca. "There is no logistical support from the state."

Astuquillca explained that the troops had insufficient ammunition, carried bad quality food in cans so heavy that it was hard to move quickly, and sometimes had to pay, out of their own pockets, to stay in hotels.

According to the officer, the police did not have radios, satellite phones or GPS equipment, and so had to communicate by cell phone. When there was no cell phone signal they would use an emergency phone system, but that would also break down in storms, leaving them without a means of communication. His complaints were echoed by another officer, Jose Millones, who is now under pressure from senior police officers.

InSight Crime Analysis

Astuquillca's account of the authorities' failure to provide proper supplies for the security forces will further stoke anger in Peru over the failed rescue operation, Mision Libertad (Mission Freedom). The hostages were released, but it was widely suspected that the company had paid a ransom. Public outrage focused on the story of Astuquillca and another officer, Cesar Vilca, who were left alone in the jungle after a helicopter carrying the rest of their group was forced to retreat under rebel fire. With a bullet wound to his leg, Astuquillca left a seriously wounded Vilca, and walked for 17 days to find help.

Eventually Vilca's father, accusing the authorities of having abandoned the rescue effort, went into the region himself, and brought his son's body back in a taxi.

Four other police officers and three soldiers died in Mision Libertad, and the ministers of the interior and defense were both forced to resign.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ILLEGAL MINING / 12 FEB 2013

Peruvian officials have seized 198 kilos of mercury they believe was intended for use in unlicensed gold mining, a reminder…

FARC / 23 MAY 2012

Claims that a Peruvian air force officer has been wrongly imprisoned over accusations that he helped supply military weapons to…

EXTORTION / 4 JUN 2015

Peru plans to institute a "telephone blackout" in order to combat extortion, a widespread problem in the country commonly perpetrated…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…