HomeNewsBriefWave of Shining Path Attacks Sparks Fears of New Offensive in Peru
BRIEF

Wave of Shining Path Attacks Sparks Fears of New Offensive in Peru

PERU / 3 MAR 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The Shining Path guerrillas in Peru have broken months of calm with a series of attacks against military targets, in what could be the beginning of a resurgence or alternatively a sign of weakness after the killing of key leaders.  

On February 17, a group of around 30 members of the Shining Path faction active in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM) launched an assault against Kepashiato military base in the province of Cusco.

The next day, the guerrillas followed up with further attacks against military bases in Union Mantaro and Ccano in neighboring province of Ayacucho, then engaging in several more assaults over the next week.

The attacks marked the first serious confrontations between the Shining Path and the military since November last year, reported El Comercio. The head of the joint police-military Special VRAEM Commando unit, Leonardo Longa Lopez, told El Comercio the attacks were a desperate reaction to anti-narcotics efforts in the region.

However, analysts consulted by El Comercio said the attacks were likely a delayed response to the killings of Alejandro Borda Casafranca, alias “Alipio,” and Martin Quispe Palomino, alias “Gabriel,” last year, and may well mark the start of a new offensive.

InSight Crime Analysis

After all but eradicating the faction of the Shining Path active in Upper Huallaga Valley in the north of Peru, the authorities have turned their attention to the VRAEM faction, which may not be large but time and again has proven it retains the military capacity to cause the state significant headaches.

Building on the damage to the group’s organizational structure from the killings of Alipio and Gabriel, authorities have now turned to the guerrillas’ main source of funding — drug trafficking.

SEE ALSO: Shining Path Profile

The Shining Path regulate the coca base market, protect drug shipments and help secure illegal airstrips. To choke off this revenue source, Peruvian authorities have already launched operations to destroy airstrips and plan to drastically increase coca eradication efforts in the VRAEM.

The Shining Path certainly seem to have been laying low and regrouping in recent months and the recent attacks suggest an end to this period of calm. However, whether they represent the start of a concerted offensive to fight off government efforts in the region, or are a desperate reaction to the government campaign borne out of weakness, remains to be seen.

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.

Related Content

MONEY LAUNDERING / 22 APR 2014

Police in Peru are targeting a transnational money laundering network they claim could be linked to cartels in Mexico, in…

ARGENTINA / 6 JAN 2017

In 2016, governments continued to use militarized approaches to combating organized crime in Latin America, despite mounting evidence of human…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 9 NOV 2017

A new report into an emblematic case of timber trafficking in Peru highlights the corruption and fraud that continue to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …