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Peru to install cameras at Machu Picchu after damage

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Lima (AFP)

Peru is installing security cameras at its world renowned Machu Picchu site after it was damaged earlier this month by foreign tourists, authorities said Tuesday.

"We are going to strengthen security at Machu Picchu by installing high-tech cameras," Jose Bastante, head of the archeological park, told AFP.

Bastante said 18 cameras will be located at three strategic points of the citadel as well as access points from surrounding mountains.

"This will allow us to better control visitors and avoid any action or infraction to the regulations, also any type of risk," he said, adding that drones were also being used for security.

Five tourists accused of damaging the iconic site were deported to Bolivia last week and barred from returning to the country for 15 years.

A sixth, from Argentina, was fined $360 and must pay $1,500 to the culture ministry for repairs after he admitted to damaging the Temple of the Sun at the ancient Inca sanctuary.

The Argentine, 28-year-old Nahuel Gomez, also received a suspended sentenced of three years and four months, but can leave the country once the fines are paid.

Gomez admitted to causing a stone slab to fall from a temple wall. It was chipped when it fell, causing a crack in the floor.

"The damaged caused is significant. The integrity of Machu Picchu has been broken," Bastante said.

Members of the group were also suspected of defecating inside the 600-year-old temple.

The Machu Picchu complex -- which includes three distinct areas for agriculture, housing and religious ceremonies -- is the most iconic site from the Inca empire, which ruled over a large swath of western South America for 100 years before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.

Machu Picchu, which means "old mountain" in the Quechua language indigenous to the area, is at the top of a lush mountain and was built during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1471).

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