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Narco Blog: Drug Traffickers Behind Attack on Peru Police Station
Photo: Drug Traffickers Attack Police in Peru
A group of suspected guerrillas allied with drug traffickers staged the attack on the police station in Pujiura, a remote town in Peru’s Cuzco region, that left two officers wounded, the National Police said.
The rebels fired on the police station early Monday with long-range weapons from a nearby hill, taking advantage of a power outage caused by torrential rains in the area to stage the attack.
The attack was repelled by 14 officers who were at the station, which is in a town so remote that it lacks both landline and cellular phone service.
Reinforcements were sent later in the day from La Convencion to Pujiura, the National Police said.
Interior Minister Daniel Lozada condemned the attack, which was apparently carried out by a guerrilla unit that is working with drug traffickers in the area.
“We are prepared to repel these types of attacks with the greatest force and determination. The National Police is on alert. There has been no damage beyond the wounds caused by shrapnel,” Lozada said.
Lozada ordered National Police special operations forces chief Gen. Abel Gamarra to go to Pujiura “to conduct an extensive investigation and search for those behind the attack.”
The police station is in the coca-growing Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE, region, which sprawls over parts of Cuzco, Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Junin regions.
The VRAE is the main source of coca, the basic raw material for producing cocaine, in Peru.
Both drug traffickers and guerrillas operate in the VRAE.
The Shining Path guerrilla group’s remnants operate in the VRAE region under Victor Quispe Palomino, alias “Comrade Jose.”
The rebels have joined forces with drug cartels and producers of illegal coca, the raw material for cocaine, officials say.
The government has made the elimination of the Shining Path’s remnants a priority.
The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.
A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising.
The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.
Peru is the world’s second-largest cocaine producer, with potential estimated output of the illegal drug at about 300 metric tons.