Peru ends 3-decade-long state of emergency after nabbing rebel chief

Peru ends 3-decade-long state of emergency after nabbing rebel chief
Peruvian fans react as they watch the Copa America quarter-final soccer match between Peru and Bolivia at a fan festival in downtown Lima, June 25, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

LIMA - Peru announced Saturday that the logistics chief of the Shining Path rebel group had been captured and that the government is lifting a three-decade-long state of emergency in a coca-growing region.

The Shining Path, a Maoist guerrilla army that fought successive governments starting in 1980, was for the most part dismantled in the mid-1990s but its remnants remain active in coca-growing areas.

On Saturday, President Ollanta Humala announced that a 30-year state of emergency in the Alto Huallaga jungle area known for illegal coca cultivation and Shining Path rebels, was being lifted.

His statement came just hours after officials reported that Shining Path logistics man Neymer Keni Maldonado had been arrested.

Maldonado was found with weapons and ammunition in the San Martin region of northern Peru, part of which forms a portion of the Alto Huallaga jungle area.

He is a confidant of a leader captured in 2012 and has a knowledge of rebel assets that police have seized, said the head of the anti-terrorism division of the police, General Jose Baella.

"He is not just anybody," Baella added.

The government says the vestiges of the Shining Path protect cocaine traffickers in exchange for money.

A state of emergency remains in effect in areas of the country where the Shining Path still engages in sporadic skirmishes with government troops.

Under a state of emergency, government armed forces control security, and basic rights such as freedom of assembly and movement are restricted.

Fighting between the Shining Path and government has left some 69,000 people dead, according to Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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