HomeNewsBriefPeru in Familiar Stalemate With Shining Path Rebels
BRIEF

Peru in Familiar Stalemate With Shining Path Rebels

COCA / 4 SEP 2020 BY SERGIO SAFFÓN EN

Yet again, Peruvian security forces are seeking to force Shining Path guerrillas out a jungle region that produces most of the country’s cocaine, but military operations have long failed to stamp out what remains of the rebel group.

A late August battle between troops and a Shining Path cell in the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers (Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro - VRAEM) left four rebel fighters dead, including alias “Cirilo," a local leader. Two soldiers were also killed, the Ministry of the Interior stated in a news release.

The firefight occurred after troops discovered armed guerrillas safeguarding cocaine in in Chachaspata, a town in the department of Ayacucho in the southwestern part of the country. A second conflict took place later in the Mar providence of the same department, El Comercio reported.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profile

The military attack also led to the seizure of weapons, explosives and 79 kilograms of cocaine.

The Shining Path faction of the VRAEM supports itself through drug trafficking, though its role is limited to providing armed escorts of drug shipments passing through the area, Pedro Yaranga, a Peruvian security expert, told InSight Crime. He added that the group’s presence has been reduced to a narrow corridor between the departments of Junín, Ayacucho and Huancavelica.

The remote jungle region accounted for nearly 70 percent of some 50,000 coca crops in the country in 2017, the last time the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was able to conduct a survey, according to its latest World Drug Report.

InSight Crime Analysis

An overwhelming military presence in the region -- the VRAEM currently has 52 bases and between 8,000 to 10,000 troops -- has been unable to root out the rebel group, which has kept itself going by securing shipments of cocaine.

Some 450 members of the Shining Path continue to control several strategic drug trafficking territories in the region, according to information provided to InSight Crime by Peru's Counter-Terrorism Directorate (Dirección Contra el Terrorismo - DIRCOTE).

The stalemate is likely to hold, though the guerrilla group has become a shadow of its former self when the group terrorized Peru with assassinations, bombings, beheadings and massacres.

The government is also considering new ways of dealing with the legacy of the Shining Path conflict, having agreed on September 3 to pay compensations to victims of the violence and their relatives.

SEE ALSO: Peru's Shining Path Plots Unlikely Return to Power

Founded in the 1970s, the Shining Path reached its apex in the early 1990s, when then-President Alberto Fujimori responded with a repressive campaign.

In 1992, authorities captured Abimael Guzmán, the group's founder and principal leader. His second-in-command, Florindo Eleuterio Flores, alias “Comandante Artemio,” was taken down a decade later all but ending the bloody civil war, which took some 70,000 lives and lasted for two decades, from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

Currently under the leadership of brothers Víctor and Jorge Quispe Palomino, the group has tried to reinvent itself as the Militarized Communist Party of Peru (Militarizado Partido Comunista del Perú – MPCP), in an effort to gain the support of rural farming communities within the VRAEM that were victimized by the Shining Path.

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

COCAINE / 18 MAY 2022

The jungle region known as La Mosquitia in northeast Honduras has been an ideal corridor for international drug trafficking. However,…

COCA / 16 DEC 2022

Coca cultivation in Guerrero, Mexico, has grown ten times in a year. But Mexico remains far from achieving mass coca…

COCA / 25 MAR 2021

The sheer size of Colombia's reserves makes them a target for the illegal clearing, appropriation and sale of protected land.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…