RealNews

Peru Relives a Nightmare as Rebels Reappear

The scene could have been from the 1980’s, when civil conflict killed thousands in Peru: two flag-covered coffins lowered into the ground as mothers wailed and soldiers in dress uniforms dabbed tears. Peruvians thought they had seen an end to funerals like this one, for two young infantrymen killed by Shining Path guerrillas on July 10. But the Shining Path, a fanatical rebel group believed to have been all but eradicated in the mid-1990’s, is again launching attacks, reviving memories of the terrorist bombings, massacres and weekly body counts that nearly crippled Peru more than a decade ago. “We had thought Shining Path was completely gone,” Raúl Chamorro, 30, a cousin of one of the slain infantrymen, Julio García, said as the funeral came to a close. “No one imagined this could happen.” Shining Path, or Sendero Luminoso, is reappearing in new graffiti, proselytizing in Peru’s outback and launching attacks that have shaken the country and created fresh problems for President Alejandro Toledo, whose government is increasingly unpopular. Defense Minister Aurelio Loret de Mola emphasized in an interview that attacks on the military by Shining Path have actually dropped, from 20 clashes in 2001 to just six this year. Full Story

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