Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Peru: Recent activities of the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso); police response to complaints of threats and/or violence by members of the Shining Path; steps taken by large companies to protect their employees from threats or violence by members of the Shining Path (July 2001-2002)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 13 November 2002
Citation / Document Symbol PER40252.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Peru: Recent activities of the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso); police response to complaints of threats and/or violence by members of the Shining Path; steps taken by large companies to protect their employees from threats or violence by members of the Shining Path (July 2001-2002) , 13 November 2002, PER40252.E , available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) World Report 2002:

In the Alta Huallaga region in Huánuco and San Martín departments, Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) guerrillas murdered fourteen civilian non-combatants in separate incidents in March [2001]. The victims were alleged to have been former guerrillas or sympathizers who their captors accused of collaborating with the government. Remnants of the Shining Path also continued to operate, reportedly in alliance with cocaine traffickers, in the jungle regions of Junín and Ucayali. Concerns continued that Asháninka Indians were being forcibly recruited and forced to work for the guerrillas. On August 7 [2001], four policemen on a mission to intercept a Shining Path column were killed after being ambushed by guerrillas in the jungle near Satipo. The Shining Path was reported to have kidnapped fifteen Asháninkas, whose names were not given for fear of reprisals. Incidents like these confronted the new government with the challenge of mounting an effective response to terrorism while avoiding the human rights abuses of earlier years (2002).

Amnesty International also reported that:

...the Shining Path armed opposition group continued to be active in the departments of Ayacucho, Junin, Huanuco and San Martín. In October [2001] there were reports that at least three people died when Shining Path members attacked an Ashaninka Indian community in the department of Junin. There were also reports that at least three Shining Path members had been detained that same month in the department of Huanuco (Report 2002).

Various sources reported that the Peruvian intelligence blamed the Shining Path for a 20 March 2002 car bomb blast that killed nine people and injured about 40 others near the US Embassy in Lima (AP 21 Mar. 2002; The Philadelphia Inquirer 22 Mar. 2002; AgenciaPeru 21 Mar. 2002; ibid. 25 Mar. 2002). The blast occurred at about 10:45 p.m. and it was estimated that 30 kilos of dynamite caused the explosion that damaged a branch of the Credit Bank of Lima (Banco de Credito de Lima), the El Polo shopping centre, and three cars (ibid. 21 Mar. 2002). The car bomb explosion took place three days before a scheduled visit by US president George W. Bush, and in response to this incident, Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo said he would "use a 'heavy hand' to put down terrorism" (AP 21 Mar. 2002).

Recent reports have noted the capture of two members of the Shining Path who are believed to be responsible for the car bomb attack near the US Embassy in March 2002 (La Republica 24 Oct. 2002; 24horas 1 Nov. 2002). 24horas reported that on the 20 October 2002, the DIRCOTE arrested Ida Lucia Mendoza Mateo and Maria Delia Vidal Marino (1 Nov. 2002). According to La Republica, Mateo was an important leader in the Shining Path's Lima Regional Committee (Comite Regional Base Lima) (24 Oct. 2002).

An article of 12 April 2002 in the Christian Science Monitor reported on a number of incidents involving the Shining Path. Martin Pumar, the Mayor of Villa El Salvador, claimed that he has received death threats, and "is worried that supporters of the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas are trying to use his turf to make a comeback in Lima" (Christian Science Monitor 12 Apr. 2002). Another reported incident was a "late-March land invasion by more than a 1,000 squatters in northern Lima" allegedly instigated by the Shining Path (ibid.). Moreover, the report stated:

there is credible evidence that the Shining Path [is] trying to infiltrate trade unions and state-run universities, where they were strong in the 1980s. A raid on a former state employees' union turned up weapons and Shining Path-related documents. At San Marcos National University, a group of students trashed the main library. Officials say this was instigated by the Shining Path (ibid.).

Articles from EFE (24 May 2002) and the Chronicle of Higher Education (31 May 2002) also reported the possible infiltration of the Shining Path at public universities.

According to a report in El Comercio, a special police unit called the Anti-Terrorism Directorate (Direccion contra el Terrorismo, DIRCOTE) destroyed six Shining Path camps (campamentos) in mid-September 2002 (30 Sept. 2002). The operation named "Tormenta" took place in the department of Ayacucho and while no confrontations were reported, agents of the DIRCOTE sustained injuries because of traps set in the surrounding vegetation (El Comercio 30 Sept. 2002).

No information regarding steps taken by large companies to protect their employees from threats or violence by members of the Shining Path could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Please refer to the Research Directorate's March 2002 issue paper entitled Peru: Selected Issues Since the Fall of Fujimori for more information about the Shining Path.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


24horas [Lima]. 1 November 2002. "Capturan Dos Miembros de Sendero Luminoso." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

AgenciaPeru [Lima]. 25 March 2002. "'Proseguir' opera en Lima: Policia sabia que neuva faccion de Sendero Luminoso preparaba atentados." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

____. 21 March 2002. "Nadie se ha atribuido la responsabilidad: Atentado a embajada de EE.UU. deja al menos 9 muertos." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

Amnesty International (AI). 2002. Annual Report 2002. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

Associated Press (AP). 21 March 2002. Monte Hayes. "Peru President to Use 'Heavy Hand'." (NEXIS)

Christian Science Monitor. 12 April 2002. Lucien O. Chauvin. "Rebel Group's Presence Growing Near Peru's Capital." (NEXIS)

Chronicle of Higher Education. 31 May 2002. "Fears of Campus Infiltration by Maoist Rebels in Peru; East Africa's First University for Women." (NEXIS)

EFE. 24 May 2002. "Peru - Terrorism: Shining Path Propaganda Reported At Peru Universities." (NEXIS)

El Comercio [Lima]. 30 September 2002. "Destruyen seis campamentos de Sendero Luminoso en la selva." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 2002. World Report 2002. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

La Republica [Lima]. 24 October 2002. Miguel Gutierrez R. "Segun DINCOTE, la detenida Ida Mendoza Mateo (c) 'Elvira' encabezaba Comite Regional Base de Lima: Detienen a dos dirigentes senderistas vinculadas al atentado El Polo." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

Philadelphia Inquirer. 22 March 2002. Kevin G. Hall. "Rebels Suspected in Peru Blast; Bush said 'Two-Bit Terrorists' Would Not Keep Him From Visiting. Nine Dead Near the U.S. Embassy." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases


Search engine


Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld