LIMA – Police in central Peru’s Monzon Valley found a body Sunday with a sign on it bearing the message “Long live the armed struggle and long live the revolution,” a reference to the Shining Path guerrilla group, Peruvian media reported.
The 19-year-old man, whose body was found in Leoncio Prado province, was apparently killed by the so-called “remnants” of the Shining Path, Cadena Peruana de Noticias, or CPN, reported.
Residents of many small towns in the Monzon Valley said red cloths bearing the hammer and sickle, symbols of the guerrilla group, were found on Sunday morning.
The military bases in the Monzon Valley should be reopened, but police should not be sent to the area or residents will become the targets of retaliation by the guerrillas, the leader of the area’s coca growers, Eduardo Vilzaran, told CPN.
Defense Minister Rafael Rey said in an interview published this weekend by the Lima daily Peru.21 that not enough soldiers were deployed in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE region, where drug traffickers and the Shining Path operate.
Some 5,000 people took to the streets of Lima on Saturday to protest the violence unleashed by the Shining Path.
The demonstration in the capital’s Jesus Maria district was timed to coincide with the 17th anniversary of the capture of Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman.
Guzman, for his part, came out with a new book on Saturday to mark the anniversary of his arrest.
The demonstration, whose participants wore white and carried white flags and balloons, was organized by television personality Carlos Alvarez and Jesus Maria district Mayor Enrique Ocrospoma.
Alvarez, a popular comedian, thanked the participants for taking a stand against violence, crime, terrorism and drug trafficking, “which only bring death and destruction to the country.”
Regional government leaders, mayors, and members of Congress took part in the protest march, which also drew students, artists and sports figures.
The Shining Path has expanded its operations and stepped up attacks in Peru’s interior in recent months, killing dozens of members of the security forces.