The national police said that seven police were killed on Saturday in an ambush while on duty in a coca-growing valley in southern Peru.
The incident occurred in a large valley known as VRAEM in the La Convencion province of the Cusco region (the acronym stands for Valley of the Rivers Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro).
The armed forces there have been battling drug gangs and the remaining members of the communist organization Shining Path for many years.
“We regret the loss of our police brothers, who were ambushed when they were traveling in a police vehicle in the town center of Natividad in #Vraem, where 7 police officers have died and one police officer has survived,” the national police said on Twitter.
Victor Quispe Palomino, also known as “Comrade Jose,” the head of the Shining Path, was allegedly gravely hurt in an operation against “terrorist camps” in August 2022, according to the Peruvian Army.
The Sendero Luminoso insurgents were dealt a serious blow by the Peruvian military in January 2021 when they killed “Comrade Raul,” the group’s number two and one of the most sought persons in Peru and the brother of Comrade Jose, in the VRAEM.
There are perhaps 350 Shining Path followers left, 80 of whom are armed, but nearly all of its commanders are either dead or in prison.
The 1980 “people’s war” against the government marked the beginning of the Maoist movement. The country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimates that 69,000 people died or went missing during the subsequent 20 years of fighting with the army.