(CNN Spanish) – The Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Peru assures that the Shining Path is responsible for the death of 14 people in the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers, a region known as Vraem, southeast of Lima.
The Vraem area is identified by the authorities as the center of activity by terrorist remnants in Peru.
“The terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso, led by the terrorist criminal Víctor Quispe Palomino (c) José, in a genocidal act, murdered 14 people not yet identified on the night of May 23, 2021, including 2 children, who They were found burned and unrecognizable, ”says a statement released through the Joint Command’s social networks.
The authorities are thoroughly investigating the motives for the attack, including the reasons why it targeted a group of civilians.
Deployment of the Armed Forces in the Vraem region
The interim president of Peru, Francisco Sagasti, reacted to the event on Twitter. “I have ordered the deployment of patrols of the Armed Forces and the Peruvian Police in the area, so that this terrorist action does not go unpunished,” he wrote.
For its part, the Peruvian Episcopal Conference also condemned the incident. In a statement they assured that the event reminds them “of the time of barbarism and terror that the country experienced for more than 20 years. Never again to terrorism. Never again to violence in Peru ».
The Office of the Special Prosecutor for Terrorism Crimes has initiated investigations into the massacre.
According to the document of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, in the place where these people were murdered, a pamphlet was found asking not to participate in the presidential elections on June 6, which leads the authorities to conclude that, added to the testimonies of local, the group was related to these deaths.
“This type of action is called by the terrorist organization as ‘social cleansing’ and was carried out with firearms,” the statement added.
The pamphlet to which the statement refers, and which has been shared by the media and social networks, says in its final part: “Peruvian people: boycott bourgeois elections, because it is not your way: Do not go to vote. Vote blank. Vote null or flawed! Whoever votes in favor of Keiko Fujimori is a traitor, he is a murderer of VRAEM, he is a murderer of Peru! ”.
Aware of the terrorist attack, the presidential candidate Padro Castillo told the local press: “I would like to extend my solidarity to the families of the victims who have just been murdered, I condemn the cowardly attitude of some people who abuse the people in a political setting” .
Candidate Keiko Fujimori has not yet commented on what happened.
During the presidential campaign, Castillo has denied having any ties with the Shining Path or the Movadef, a group linked to the terrorist organization.
However, Guillermo Bermejo, a congressman elected by Peru Libre, the party Castillo is running for, is currently facing trial.
The prosecution accuses Bermejo of being a member of the Shining Path, something that the elected parliamentarian has denied.
Minutes before the release of the statement from the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, the general commander of the Police, César Cervantes, said through the RPP station that 18 people were killed.
Cervantes added that a group from the Peruvian Police’s Anti-Terrorism Directorate is going to the site to carry out investigations, and that they do so with all security measures. “We are in an area of the Apurímac Ene river valley, which is an emergency zone.”
He added that “this is a coca-growing area where the police presence is strategic because the inhabitants of the place are dedicated to drug trafficking, to the cultivation of coca.”
Shining Path had its heyday in Peru between the 1980s and 1990s. One of its founders, Abimael Guzmán, alias Comrade Gonzalo, is in life imprisonment. Other leaders of the group have headed different factions of the movement, such as Víctor Quispe Palomino, indicated in the military statement this Monday. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission blamed Sendero for the deaths of some 32,000 people between 1980 and 2000.