A Peruvian soldier and five members of the former Shining Path guerrillas, defeated militarily in the 1990s, were killed during a clash in a Peruvian coca-growing valley, the Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday. . On Tuesday, a soldier was killed in the same area. At the beginning of February, seven police officers were killed in an ambush.

The armed clash, the date of which was not specified in the press release from the joint command of the armed forces, occurred in the district of Vizcatan del Ene (center), during an operation to capture the chief of the remains far-left guerrillas. Victor Quispe Palomino, alias Comrade José, was not arrested but other officials were killed or captured, the statement said.

In the land of coca

The district of Vizcatan del Ene, in the department of Junin, is part of a vast coca-growing area known as VRAEM, an acronym for the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers, where the army has been fighting for decades gangs of drug traffickers and the last militants of the Maoist guerrillas. According to the United Nations, Peru is one of the largest producers of coca leaf and cocaine in the world.

The Shining Path, which launched an armed insurrection in 1980, has clashed with armed forces for decades in a conflict that has left 69,000 dead and missing, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Almost all the guerrilla leaders are dead or imprisoned, but the army estimates that some 200 to 350 former combatants are still active in the VRAEM.

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