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Leftist rebels kill 13 soldiers in coca region

Video by Yuka ROYER

Latest update : 2009-04-12

Peru's Shining Path rebels killed 13 soldiers in an ambush of a military patrol in the country's remote southeast, Defence Minister Antero Flores Araoz said on Saturday.

REUTERS - Suspected leftist rebels killed 13 troops in two ambushes in a mountainous region of Peru where security forces are fighting cocaine traffickers, the government said on Saturday.


Defense Minister Antero Flores said both attacks took place on Thursday in Ayacucho province, a coca-growing area and the birthplace of the Maoist Shining Path guerrilla group.


Flores told a news conference the rebels used grenades and dynamite to attack army patrols as they passed. In the first attack one soldier was killed, while 12 troops died in a second ambush.


The attacks bring to 11 the number of assaults on security services by suspected Shining Path rebels since the start of the year.


Peru’s government says the Shining Path has all but abandoned its fight from leftist ideological in favor of running drugs in Peru, the world’s No. 2 cocaine producer.


The rebel group led a nearly two-decade rebellion until its leadership was captured and it collapsed in the early 1990s. But some members of the group are still active, especially in the country’s main coca-farming regions.


Some government officials have said an upswing in violence stems from eradication efforts and the growing influence of Mexican drug cartels that buy cocaine in Peru.


Like his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe, Peruvian President Alan Garcia receives anti-drug money from the United States and supports programs to eradicate coca fields.

Date created : 2009-04-12