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Latino Daily News

Sunday July 22, 2012

Drug Traffickers, Shining Path Guerrillas Kill 2 Police Officers

Drug Traffickers, Shining Path Guerrillas Kill 2 Police Officers

Photo: Peruvian police

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Two police officers were wounded in an ambush staged by guerrillas and drug traffickers in a jungle area in the southeastern Peruvian region of Cuzco, police spokesmen said.

A vehicle carrying five officers was attacked Friday afternoon in the remote area as it was heading from the town of Ocobamba to Echarate, a district in La Convencion province.

Quillabamba district precinct chief Jorge Antonio Cotito Huallanca was shot in the wrist and driver Minio Torres had his head grazed by a bullet, police spokesmen told Efe.

The officers were treated at the hospital in Quillabamba and Torres was transported Saturday to the Pardo clinic in Cuzco city because his condition worsened.

The area where the attack occurred is 2 1/2 hours by road from Quillabamba.

This part of a Cuzco is a transit zone for the drug traffickers operating in the coca-growing Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE, region.

Drug traffickers and Shining Path guerrillas based in the region often stage attacks on the security forces.

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.