The Peruvian Army says it has given a sharp blow to Shining Path, the paramilitary group that since its foundation in 1980 has been responsible, the government says, for the death of at least 51,000 people. According to Peruvian president Ollanta Humala, a military operation conducted into the early hours of Monday resulted in the death of the two military leaders of the guerrilla group, which the government considers a terrorist organization.
The president Ollanta Humala said in a press conference that a Joint Command of the Armed Forces conducted a military attack in the Peruvian jungle, where they killed three suspicious hikers, among which are presumably the two military chiefs of Shining Path. Alejandro Borda and Victor Quispe known under the aliases of “Comrade Alipio and Gabriel” respectively have not yet been identified as the men killed in the operation, but both the government and the Peruvian Army hope that DNA tests can confirm their identity beyond any doubt.
“It is a serious and irreversible blow to the structure of the remaining terrorists,” said Humala.
The military assault was the result of a police investigation that began with a few complaints from people in the Valley of the Apurimac, who argued that “Comrade Alipio” was engaged in negotiations with major drug cartels, to carry out violent acts against peasants and to torture his enemies.
The operation began at 22:00 on Sunday and ended in the early hours of Monday, when the military, in the presence of public prosecutors, moved the bodies to the city of Ayacucho.
According to the Peruvian government, besides becoming a political opposition group since its inception, Shining Path has turned into an organization that is directly linked to drug trafficking operations that generate some 80 billion dollars a year.
Comrade “Alipio” came to power after the military capture of the top leader of Shining Path, Abimael Guzman. Despite Guzman’s supposed call for a peace agreement, some members of Shining Path decided to dismiss his ability to command the group and continue the political and military struggle fought from the jungles of Peru.
The new leadership is formed by Guzman’s cousins ??Victor and Jorge Quispe Palomino, who are recognized for holding high academic achievements. They remain the heads of the organization, and any tips about their whereabouts is being rewarded with 5 million euros by the United States government.