Peru's Shining Path rebel movement has released a video showing its fighters, several very young, parading with an impressive arsenal, as the group seeks to show it is still a force to be reckoned with.
The video, broadcast by the Peruvian television program Cuarto Poder, shows some 27 rebels dressed for the most part in black, each one armed with a weapon. Leading them is the group's purported ideologue Jorge Quispe Palomino, alias "Comrade Raul," the brother of rebel leader Victor Quispe Palomino, known as "Comrade Jose." He is seen not only parading with the fighters, but playing a guitar and singing revolutionary songs.
While most of the weapons on display are assault rifles -- AK-47s and FALs -- robbed from the Peruvian police and army, a rocket propelled grenade launcher (RPG), two rifle grenade launchers, and two heavy machine guns are prominently displayed as well.
Also evident in the recordings is the presence of minors who are seen singing revolutionary anthems. The Shining Path recruit children, called "pioneers," many of whom are the children of fighters or supporters.
The images were most likely filmed in the last remaining Shining Path stronghold of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM).
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Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the video, which was apparently delivered with the blessing of the Shining Path leadership, is that there is no attempt made to hide the identities of the fighters. The clips will no doubt provide useful intelligence for the Peruvian military and police. It seems that the rebels are keen to show the impressive arsenal they have amassed and the fact that they are able to concentrate fighters within their stronghold without fear.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Shining Path
The Shining Path in the VRAEM suffered a severe blow last year, when the movement's military head and second-in-command, Orlando Alejandro Borda Casafranco, alias "Comrade Alipio," was killed alongside another of the Quispe Palomino brothers, Marco, alias "Gabriel."
Yet these losses do not appear to have fatally weakened the Peruvian rebels. Such is their strength in the VRAEM that the government has suspended the eradication of coca crops, the raw material for cocaine and the principal earner for the remnants of the Shining Path.