LIMA – Peruvian authorities arrested 24 people accused of links to the Shining Path guerrilla group that terrorized the Andean nation in the 1980s, President Ollanta Humala said.
The detainees, who are charged with terrorism and material support for terrorism, include the main leaders of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights, or Movadef, Humala told RPP radio from Canada, where he is traveling on official business.
Movadef, a group sympathetic to Shining Path ideology, has made forays into electoral politics.
Among those arrested were two attorneys who have represented Shining Path’s jailed founder, Abimael Guzman, Humala said.
Media accounts said the suspects taken into custody also include the president’s cousin, prominent folk musician Walter Humala.
“If there are people connected with these two offenses, regardless of their surnames, they will be arrested,” the head of state said when asked about his kinsman.
The investigation leading to Wednesday’s arrests began after informants told authorities that Crespo received 120,000 soles ($42,857) from Shining Path factional chief Florindo Flores Hala, a.k.a. “Comrade Artemio,” to bolster Movadef.
Artemio, who feuded publicly with Guzman about the direction Shining Path should take, was captured in 2012 and sentenced last year to life in prison.
The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on the small southern town of Chuschi, and killed tens of thousands of people before its core elements were smashed in 1992.
But remnants of the insurgency remain active in isolated areas.
Authorities accuse the surviving Shining Path units of having joined forces with drug cartels.
“They want to incriminate me for crimes I have not committed. I do not have to ask forgiveness for anything, I have nothing to be ashamed of,” Artemio said last year at his trial, denying any connection to drugs.