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Five dead in Peru 'Shining Path' attack

world Updated: Aug 03, 2009 11:00 IST
powerful Maoist guerrillas

Three policemen and two civilians have been killed in an overnight raid on a special forces base in southern Peru, which the government has blamed on once-powerful Maoist guerrillas.

Police on Sunday said around 50 guerrillas attacked the base in San Jose de Secce between midnight and dawn, using explosives and firearms.

The bodies of five victims, including two women, were transferred by military helicopter to the nearby Andean city of Ayacucho, 300 kilometres south east of the capital Lima.

The Ayacucho area was among the hardest hit during the Shining Path's insurgency in the 1980s and is now a hub for Peru's illicit trade in drugs.

In April, President Alan Garcia vowed on Tuesday to "crush" the remnants of the rebel group after ambushes killed 14 soldiers in the remote southeast jungles of the country, the worst rebel attacks in 10 years.

Peruvian officials have blamed the recent attacks on remnants of the Maoist group, also known by its Spanish name, Sendero Luminoso, who have allied with drug traffickers in the region.

Peru is one of the world's principal coca leaf producers, the main ingredient for making cocaine.