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Peruvian Military Renews Hunt for Shining Path Rebels in Wake of Deadly Ambush

Peru dispatched dozens of soldiers to search for Shining Path guerrillas in the rugged mountainous jungle surrounding this small village, two days after a bold attack that killed seven infantrymen and raised fears of a rebel resurgence. On Thursday, a band of rebels ambushed a patrol of marines and army special forces as the soldiers stopped to eat in a jungle clearing. Hidden in the shadows and thick vegetation, the rebels killed or wounded half of the 30-man patrol, apparently without taking any losses, an army officer said on the condition of anonymity. It was the worst loss for the Peruvian military in four years. The Shining Path, which follows a hardcore communist ideology and seeks to overthrow the government, launched its armed conflict in 1980 after a decade of planning. By the early 1990s the group counted some 10,000 fighters among its ranks and almost brought the Peruvian government to its knees, assassinating mayors and peasants in the countryside and waging a car-bomb campaign in the capital, Lima. The violence dropped significantly with the capture of founder Abimael Guzman in 1992. But the rebel faction operating in the area of Thursday’s attack apparently has made a break from Guzman, who is seeking a negotiated settlement that includes amnesty for hundreds of imprisoned rebels. Full Story

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