13 Peruvian soldiers killed in rebel ambush: official | world | Hindustan Times
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13 Peruvian soldiers killed in rebel ambush: official

Peru's Shining Path rebels killed 13 soldiers in an ambush of a military patrol in the country's remote southeast, Defense Minister Antero Flores Araoz said Saturday.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2009 09:14 IST

Peru's Shining Path rebels killed 13 soldiers in an ambush of a military patrol in the country's remote southeast, Defense Minister Antero Flores Araoz said Saturday.

"The attack with dynamite and grenades took place Thursday, and victims included a captain, a junior officer and 11 soldiers," Flores Araoz told a press conference, adding that the remote jungle area and communications problems accounted for the delay in announcing the attack.

The assault, one of the deadliest by the once-formidable guerrilla group in the past decade, also left one person missing and two more wounded.

"Most of the soldiers plunged over a cliff," the minister said, 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 Shining Path 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 rebel attackers.

Once Peru's most powerful rebel group, the Shining Path were defeated and scattered after a government crackdown under then-president Alberto Fujimori.

After a lengthy trial, Fujimori on Tuesday was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in crimes committed by an army death squad during his 1990-2000 rule.

Shining Path remnants have lately grown bolder in their attacks and have made the coca growing region along the Apurimac Ene river their stronghold, allying themselves with local drug traffickers.

"We'll win this war," Flores Araoz told reporters. "This attack in no way weakens the moral fibre of the armed forces."