Sun Apr 12th 2009
LIMA Communist Party of Perú (PCP) rebels in Peru have staged one of their deadliest attacks in years, killing 13 soldiers in an ambush of a military patrol in the country's remote southeast.
On Saturday the attac from the PCP used dynamite and grenades, and their victims included a captain, a junior officer and 11 soldiers.
The assault, one of the deadliest by the Maoist guerrilla group in the past decade, also left one soldier missing and two more wounded.
"Most of the soldiers plunged over a cliff," but the circumstances of the deaths and the fall off the mountainside were not immediately clear.
The ambush came only hours after one soldier was killed and four were wounded in another PCP attack on a military patrol in the same area of Ayacucho department, 550 kilometers (341 miles) southeast of the capital Lima.
The 'defense minister' said an army unit and a helicopter have been dispatched from Huanta city to help the survivors of the ambush and hunt down the Maoists.
The latest ambush came barely 48 hours after Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in crimes committed by an army death squad during his 1990-2000 rule. He is accused of conducting a "dirty war" to fight both the Maoist PCP and Tupac Amaru rebels.
The PCP have grown bolder in their attacks and have made the coca growing region along the Apurimac Ene river their stronghold, allying themselves with local peasant masses.
Sociologist Jaime Antezana said there have been 11 Maoist attacks on military patrols in the past 11 months, adding that the military "fare the worst."
"These are not isolated but systematic attacks. We're dealing with highly mobile rebel forces who since 2005 have been expanding their presence in the coca growing valley in southeastern Peru," the expert in rebel and drug violence told RPP radio.
Prime Minister Yehude Simon decried Thursday's ambushes as "desperate responses by the Shining Path in the face of advances by the armed forces" in Apurimac Ene.
Thursday's attack was the deadliest since an October 10 rebel ambush that killed 14 people -- 12 soldiers and two civilians -- in nearby Huancavelica Department.
There have been 21 rebel ambushes since July 2003 that have left 35 soldiers, 23 police and more than a dozen civilians dead.
The region is just northwest of Ayacucho, where the PCP was founded in the 1960s and from where it has operated for more than two decades.