Peruvian police claim communist guerrilla ‘Shining Path’ infiltrated protests
General Óscar Arriola, head of the National Directorate of Criminal Investigation (Dirincri) of the Peruvian National Police (PNP), said on Friday that members of the terrorist group Shining Path, a communist guerrilla group, have infiltrated the anti-government demonstrations taking place in the country.
Arriola clarified that the police are not claiming that all the participants of the protests are members of the group.
Still, he stressed that he wants “the population, which has every right to protest peacefully, to know that by their side there is no longer any doubt that there are Shining Path members.”
The last stronghold of the Shining Path, allied to drug trafficking, survives in the Valley of the Rivers Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro (Vraem).
The police chief also reported the arrest of leaders of the Popular Defense Front of Ayacucho (Fredepa), arrested yesterday in this southern city and who, according to the security forces, are linked to the subversive group.
Those arrested are the president of Fredepa, Rocío Leandro Melgar, the vice president, Stefany Alanya Chumbes, and the secretary of that organization, Alejandro Manay Pillaca.
The Peruvian Public Ministry is investigating the violent acts that led to the sacking and burning of the offices of the prosecutor’s office, the judiciary, the bar association, and other state agencies on Dec. 15 and 16.
In confirming these arrests, the Interior Ministry said Leandro Melgar was part of “the terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso and was arrested and imprisoned for participating in attacks in the 1980s and 1990s.”
Arriola added that “Comrade Cusi,” as she is known, is a former prisoner “convicted and confessed for the crime of terrorism” and was “the third member” of the Sendero in Ayacucho while accusing Alanya of being “the military command.”
“These people are members of the main Ayacucho regional committee of the Sendero,” he specified before indicating that the PNP was able to “prove and verify” that they coordinated other actions in the protests in the Puno, Andahuaylas, and Cusco regions.
Peru is facing a wave of anti-government protests, mainly in the south of the country, which has left 42 dead, 531 injured, and 329 arrested, according to a statement released Friday by the Public Ministry.
For its part, the Public Ombudsman indicated that 41 protesters died in clashes with law enforcement agents, in addition to one police officer, adding that seven other people lost their lives “due to accidents and occurrences related to the blocking” of roads, which brings the total number of deaths to 49.
The protesters are demanding the resignation of Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, the closure of Congress, the anticipation of general elections in 2023, and the convening of a Constituent Assembly.
With information from EFE