Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 13:28 GMT

Peru: Information on Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path, SL) activity since 1999

Publisher United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Author Resource Information Center
Publication Date 27 January 2003
Citation / Document Symbol PER03002.ZSF
Cite as United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Peru: Information on Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path, SL) activity since 1999, 27 January 2003, PER03002.ZSF, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f51fd694.html [accessed 19 September 2014]
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.

Query:

Has Sendero Luminoso been active since 1999? If so, who were its leaders and where did they operate?

Response:

According to reports available to the RIC, the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path, SL) has been active in isolated areas of Peru over the past several years. The following is a chronological account of developments within the guerrilla force as they have been reported by the media. Most of the information was obtained from the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). There appear to be some contradictions in the reporting, but on the whole, it provides a fairly cohesive picture of the SL and its undertakings over the past four years.

The capture of Sendero's top leader, Abimael Guzmán, in 1992 -- by the Peruvian anti-terrorist police (Dirección Nacional contra el Terrorismo, (DINCOTE) headed by General Antonio Ketín Vidal Herrera -- significantly reduced the level at which the guerrilla organization could function. However, following Guzmán's arrest, Oscar Ramírez Durand known as "Comrade Feliciano" took over a radical sector of SL called the Sendero Rojo (Red Path) which continued to carry out subversive operations. This faction was headquartered in the Viscatán region of Ayacucho Department (NEWSWEEK 28 Sep 1992; IPS 22 Nov 1999).

Feliciano eluded the Peruvian military forces for years, but was finally captured in July 1999. Leadership of the remaining guerrillas then passed on to "Artemio" (Filomeno Cerrón Cardoso, among other aliases) and his lieutenant "Alipio." They were thought to be based in the central jungle's Ene river basin. Around the time that Feliciano was captured, Artemio reportedly occupied the town of Uchiza in the Huallaga valley (ANDEAN GROUP REPORT 27 Jul 1999, p. 3; IPS 22 Nov 1999).

During 1999, prior to the capture of Feliciano, the following actions involving SL were documented:

--20 Jan 1999 - Special commandos of the Armed Forces clashed with Shining Path (SL) members in the Pucayacu-Tamshi area in Huánuco, killing four and capturing two. Army commandos captured six SL commanders and killed another, as well as one civilian, in Tocache Province in San Martín (LA REPUBLICA, p.27).

--29 May 1999 - SL members attacked two policemen in the town of Uchiza, San Martín. Three civilians, one policeman and an SL member were killed. Four SL members and three civilians were injured (ATN).

--4 Jun 1999 - SL killed six people in Río Frío near Aucayacu, Huánuco Department. SL carried out three additional attacks in the San Martín de Pangoa District, Satipo Province, Junín Department (RPP).

--16 Jun 1999 - SL murdered as many as eight peasants in Azul de Magdalena in the Alto Huallaga valley accusing them of being "stool pigeons" for the Army. The community of Aspuzana was also attacked (AFP 15 Jun 1999).

--28 Jun 1999 - A group of 50 SL members attacked a military base in Llanco, a jungle area near San Martín de Pango, Satipo Province, Junín Department (LA REPUBLICA).

--29 Jun 1999 - SL members attacked the police station in Uchiza, located in Tocache Province, San Martín Department (LA REPUBLICA).

--It was also reported that "Sendero staged several attacks in June of 1999 in the Huallaga valley, killing at least 22 people" (ECONOMIST 10 Jul 1999, p. 32).

On 2 Oct. 1999, a Sendero unit of about 80 fighters, in an offensive thought to have been planned by Artemio, but under the immediate command of Alipio, ambushed a 35-strong army patrol as it disembarked from a transport helicopter on the Anapati river near Satipo in the Ene valley (LAWR 12 Oct 1999, p. 472).

By late 1999, intelligence and NGO sources estimated that Artemio commanded a group of about 180 guerrillas, thought to be divided into three or four columns. Though still reliant on drug producers and traffickers for support, this faction was reported to have adopted a new policy that spared local people from punishment and indiscriminate attacks (LAWR 12 Oct 1999, p. 472). Nonetheless, according to media reports in 2000, some units of SL continued to target civilians, as well as military units. Documented examples are listed below:

--21 Feb 2000 - SL rebels raided the Naranjal community in Ayacucho La Mar Province killing one person and wounding at least six. It was thought that the motive of the attack was to discourage people from participating in the 9 April general elections (Notimex).

--25 Apr 2000 - An SL column clashed with the 313th Counterinsurgency Battalion in the area of Alto Huamuco, District of Cholón, Marañón Province, Huánuco Department (RPP).

--May 2000 - In the village of Yanacancha, Chavín District, Juari Province, SL members stole weapons given to the local people by the Army to fight subversion in the area. Military authorities mounted an operation to capture the guerrillas and deal with a fresh outbreak of subversive action in the towns in the interior of Callejón de los Conchucos (EFE 5 May 2000).

--Jul 2000 - An SL column wounded members of a peasant defense patrol on the banks of the Ene River, Satipo. The skirmish took place near the town of Quempiri. Police thought that this SL column was the same one that seized the towns of Shapo and Angeles in the Ene River valley (Río Tambo district, Satipo, Junín Department) a few days earlier under the command of Alipio. The inhabitants, members of the Asháninka Amazon ethnic group, were held hostage for two days, forced to listen to an indoctrination lecture, and threatened with death if they collaborated with the Army (AFP 8 Jul 2000; RPP 13 Jul 2000).

--14 July 2000 - 20 SL members took over Mollepata, Santiago de Chuco Province, La Libertad Department for five hours, threatened the inhabitants, and demanded money from the mayor to finance the return of armed struggle in that jurisdiction (RPP).

--3 Aug 2000 - A Sendero cell killed a civilian during a road attack near the town of Aucayacu, a coca-growing region, in an attempt to collect protection money and get food (AFP 4 Aug 2000).

--24 Aug 2000 - A remnant group of SL ambushed an army patrol in Alto Sandovene, near Huancayo, killing one soldier and wounding three others. The patrol had gone to the area in search of some 30 SL members who had raided a medical clinic a few days earlier and stolen supplies, killing the people in charge (EL COMERCIO 26 Aug 2000).

--1 Oct 2000 - A contingent of SL murdered a former guerrilla near Tingo María after accusing him of being an Armed Forces informant (EL COMERCIO 3 Oct 2000).

--23 Oct 2000 - SL members were thought to have dynamited an area in Huaraz Province damaging seven houses (Notimex).

--27 Oct 2000 - Soldiers from a new military base in Boca Saniveni, located in the Satipo jungle of the Ene River Valley, attacked an SL column. One soldier was wounded before the guerrillas fled leaving arms and ammunition behind (EL COMERCIO).

--10 Nov 2000 - Police captured SL members Santiago Reyes Quispe in Pamplona Alta and Vicente Calderón Aquino in Surco (RPP).

--Between 26 October and 10 November, members of the Army's Huallaga Front seized weapons and ammunition in Leoncio Prado thought to belong to SL (EL COMERCIO 16 Nov 2000).

Encounters between SL and the Army continued in 2001. In mid- February, subversives attacked an Army helicopter in the south Andean region of Viscatán, Huanta Province, Ayacucho Department allegedly killing a sergeant and injuring a lieutenant on board (Notimex 18 Feb 2001).

According to Lima media sources, in March 2001, the military captured SL leader Jaime Zúñiga Cordova, also known as "Cirilo" or "Dalton" in Pichari, Cusco Department. It had originally been announced that he was "Alipio," leader of SL operations in the Apurímac and Ene valleys, member of the SL regional committee in Alto Huallaga, and thought to be the third highest-ranking member within the remains of the SL. The Alto Huallaga regional committee had been trying to regroup disparate SL cells that were operating in a disorganized manner throughout the country and some of its columns were suffering from lack of food and medicine (RPP 4 Mar 2001; EL COMERCIO 7 Mar 2001).

14 Mar 2001 - A group of 60 SL members took over the town of Pampa Soris in Ayahuanco, Huanta, for several hours. They espoused subversive views, took food and weapons, and kidnapped three patrollers before fleeing toward Viscatán in the Apurímac River Valley (EL COMERCIO 16 Mar 2001).

Later that month, several SL members were captured in Huanta by soldiers and the Ayahuanco Self-Defense Committee. The captives said there was discontent among members of their group, that many suffered from leishmaniasis and malnutrition, and wanted to leave but the commanders threatened to kill them (EL COMERCIO 21 Mar 2001).

8 Apr 2001 - A column of about 30 SL members attacked a military detachment at Mercedes Locro, near Tingo María, seriously wounding one soldier (AFP 8 Apr 2001).

On May 28th and 29th, an SL column of some 40 heavily armed people took over two towns in Ayacucho Department urging the residents to boycott the June 3rd elections (AFP 30 May 2001).

Due to increasing SL activity in Junín Department, the National Police Command decided to send 200 police officers to the area in late May (EL COMERCIO 25 May 2001). Police presence was also reinforced after it was learned the SL Central Committee, which covered Huancavelica, Apurímac, Ayacucho, and part of Pasco, had merged with the Main Committee, which covered Pasco and Junín, to form the Central Regional Committee. Soon after, the police succeeded in capturing several more SL members (EL COMERCIO 31 May)

In August 2001, the Fujimori administration decided to reverse its crackdown on SL operations and closed 24 counter-subversive military bases and 122 police stations. Most of them were located in the areas where SL had resumed operations, the Central National Security Zone, which includes Lima, Ica, Junín, Pasco, Huancavelica and Ayacucho Departments. At that time, Defense Ministry officials estimated the presence of 402 SL members in the Ene and Viscatán areas, of which 144 were armed combatants and 258 were supporters living under SL control (LA REPUBLICA 21 Aug 2001).

In September 2001, subsequent to Fujimori's removal as head of state, the transition government noted that former SL members had become leaders of a number of peasant communities in Huancavelica, Ayacucho and Apurímac. SL presence was also detected in neighborhoods in the eastern part of Lima, such as Canto Grande. It was reported that experts saw this as a sign that SL was trying to regroup politically and that SL members were under the impression that the new democratic government would be more tolerant of their presence. According to one expert, there were two SL wings, the radicals led by "Artemio" and the pro-peace agreement members led by Guzmán (from prison). The latter were said to be carrying our political work in low-income areas, focusing on their political prisoners and the need to influence the Truth Commission (LA REPUBLICA 2 Sep 2001).

At the end of September, it was reported that army patrols were again pursuing SL members. One SL column had entered the town of Tunantuari and bought food with dollars. Members of the group advised the residents to plant coca instead of coffee or cacao and then headed for the Viscatán region in Ayacucho (EL COMERCIO 25 Sep 2001).

During October and November, police units made a number of SL arrests, including six presumed members in the Ancash region (EFE 2 Oct 2001) and three leaders in Pavayacu, Leoncio Prado Province, Huánuco Department (LA REPUBLICA 22 Oct 2001). The National Police Directorate Against Terrorism [DIRCOTE, formerly DINCOTE] also recovered a large cache of SL weapons in the Upper Huallaga Valley (EL COMERCIO 6 Nov 2001).

Two presumed SL members captured by DIRCOTE in early December were accused of being part of the SL wing formerly headed by "Feliciano" (Oscar Ramírez Durand). That wing, referred to as the Leftist Liquidationist Line (LLI), was reportedly drawing up plans to resume sabotage actions, including an attack on the US Embassy as well as other US installations (LA REPUBLICA 3 Dec 2001).

A distinction should be drawn between the LLI and SL members who support Abimael Guzmán's (imprisoned leader) strategy to promote a peace agreement between the SL and the Peruvian government. Supporters of Guzmán are referred to as the Rightist Opportunist Line (LOD). The LLI held several meetings with top commanders of the Metropolitan Regional Committee (based in Lima), the Huallaga Regional Committee, and the Main Regional Committee (Ayacucho). The leaders of the Main Regional Committee were identified as Víctor Quispe Palomino, Dalton Zúñiga ("Alipio") and Julia Dalés ("Valia") (LA REPUBLICA 3 Dec 2001).

In addition, DIRCOTE reported that classified information in its possession indicated that SL members communicate by email allowing them to coordinate operations and receive instruction from anywhere in the country that has Internet service. Their use of pseudonyms and the lack of documentary evidence make it more difficult for police to track and locate SL cells (LA REPUBLICA 5 Dec 2001).

Other information from DIRCOTE stated that the LLI had been reorganizing the following front groups: People's Aid (Socorro Popular), Classist Workers Movement (Movimiento de Obreros y Trabajadores Clasistas, MOTC), People's Women's Movement (Movimiento Femenino Popular, MFP), People's Artists Movement (Movimiento de Artistas Populares, MAP), and the People's Intellectuals Movement (Movimiento de Intelectuales Populares, MIP) (LA REPUBLICA 3 Dec 2001).

4 Dec 2001 - A power pylon in Ricardo Palma, Chosica, Huarochiri Province, was dynamited presumably by SL members who may have set up a recruiting school in the area. It was thought that two active groups of SL were planning operations, one in Lima and one in the Huallaga Valley. Possible planned operations may have included an attack on Cabana, the town where President Alejandro Toledo was born (Panamericana Television 4 Dec, EL COMERCIO 4 Dec 2001).

13 Dec 2001 - SL members tortured and killed two peasants in Aucayacu, Alto Huallaga because they were believed to have cooperated with local political and military authorities (Panamericana TV 13 Dec).

Overall, the Interior Ministry claimed to have recorded 204 actions by the SL in 2001: 20 armed actions, 31 selective attacks for intimidation or kidnapping, two bombings, and 151 propaganda actions. This was the 2nd year of increased actions since 1999 when SL operations were at their lowest ebb (EL COMERCIO 23 May 2002).

In early 2002, it was reported that SL guerrillas had changed their strategy in order to win over residents in the jungle region of Apurímac and Ayacucho Departments. By offering seeds, other supplies and money to the farmers, they were trying to incorporate themselves into the communities. SL also joined up with drug traffickers to protect the routes along the Apurímac, Mantaro, and Ene Rivers in Qimbiri, Picari, Sivia, Ayna de San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Anco, and Lloquegua Districts. They settled in the higher elevation areas of La Mar and Huanta Provinces, which have become a new route for drug trafficking because there is no police or military presence (EL COMERCIO 25 Feb 2002).

Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi confirmed the coexistence of armed SL members, in groups of 100-150 individuals, with drug traffickers in camps located in the Apurímac and Ene River Valleys. He described the situation as "extremely dangerous" and announced the immediate installation of new military and police bases in the area as well as the restoration of bases that were closed during the Fujimori administration. Five bases were to be opened on an emergency basis, two in the Huallaga Valley, two along the Ene River, and one in the Apurímac Valley (EL COMERCIO 25 Feb 2002). According to another source, 10 Army countersubversion bases would be re- established in the Upper Huallaga, Ene River, and Ayacucho regions and police countersubversion presence was not reduced (GESTION 5 Dec 2001).

A member of the Peruvian National Police (PNP) also confirmed that about 150 well-armed SL members were living in camps with indigenous people in Canabamba and Trisoline Alto, coca-growing areas in Ayacucho Department. The SL members escort drug shipments to Huanta and Huamanga using mules and people on footpaths through remote areas. They buy food from the indigenous people and farmers and pay them in dollars (EL COMERCIO 25 Feb 2002).

Shortly thereafter, Deputy Interior Minister Gino Costa played down the seriousness of the SL presence in Ayacucho and Apurímac, stating that the groups did not exceed 250 members and were not armed. He further stated that his government had inherited the SL problem, that it had been in existence for several years and that it was difficult to eradicate. Costa added that the remote areas where the SL cells and drug traffickers were located were difficult to enter and inaccessible to military forces (RPP 27 Feb 2002).

Following the explosion of a car bomb at the El Polo shopping center in Surco on March 20, the news magazine CARETAS reported that members of the reconfigured SL Lima Metropolitan Committee (Comité Metropolitano de Lima) were the primary suspects. This group had been making itself known in the capital over the previous months. In September 2001, explosives were planted in markets and other areas of Lima and more recently mobile units of the Committee attacked drug dealers in San Juan de Lurigancho. There were also allegations that SL members were infiltrating unions of former government employees, participating in marches and trying to recruit supporters. Moreover, an intelligence document supposedly alleged that the guerrilla group was supporting invasions into private and state lands (CARETAS 27 Mar 2002).

In April, a unit of the Special Operations Directorate (DIROES) discovered an SL camp being used as a transit area to Vizcatán. Two other camps were found in the central jungle in an inaccessible area away from population centers (EL COMERCIO 26 Apr 2002). A cache of weapons was uncovered in the José Crespo y Castillo District in the mountainous Mohena and Angashyacu areas near Aucayacu, Huanuco Department (EL COMERCIO 29 Apr 2002).

Interior Minister Rospigliosi announced in May that SL remnants were beginning to focus their efforts to reorganize in some universities and that some cells might try to attack U.S. interests (RPP 9 May 2002). His announcement was followed by a statement from the president of the National Assembly of Deans (ANR), Francisco Delgado de la Flor, that SL members are present at the universities of Daniel Alcides Carrión in Cerro de Pasco and Néstor Cáceres Velásquez in Juliaca (EL COMERCIO 10 May 2002). It was also reported that SL may be infiltrating the Emilio Balisán National University in Guanuco (RPP 30 May 2002).

Media sources reported the arrest of three SL guerrillas who were thought to be connected with the El Polo bombing in Surco, Lima. It was announced that they are Lucy Romero Acosta (alias "Kelly" or "Sonia"), Lidia Nidia Vásquez Zevallos (alias "Leonor" or "Eugenia"), and Roger Torres Velásquez (alias "Poeta") (RPP 12 Jun 2002; EL COMERCIO 12 Jun 2002).

The leader of the SL Southern Region, Ernesto Jorge Quispe Arredondo ("Comrade Ivan") was arrested by DIRCOTE on the 13th of June in Arequipa. He was said to be responsible for numerous attacks on police in Acequia Alto, Alto Porongoche, El Porvenir, and Chivay, as well as dynamite attacks against electricity lines and other public and private property. He was also charged in the deaths of five police officers (LA REPUBLICA 14 Jun 2002).

Juan Velit Granda, the president of the National Intelligence Council (CNI), reported that remnants of guerrilla organizations were still operating in isolated areas of the jungle region, infiltrating into some universities, and participating in protest marches. Velit Granda also confirmed that guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have entered Peruvian territory to meet with a sector of SL called Red Fatherland, which is promoting the armed struggle (GESTION 4 Jul 2002).

In early July, three people were allegedly murdered by an SL column on the Fernando Belaúnde Terry Highway in Central Peru (RPP 5 Jul 2002). It was also reported that a recently formed SL faction was considering selective assassinations of government officials. A secret intelligence document reportedly recommended that security measures for President Toledo be strengthened, medical personnel and an ambulance accompany him during his travels in Lima and the provinces, and that he should stop attending events in slum areas. The report also confirmed a significant increase in subversive operations and the restructuring of each SL regional committee. The Central Regional Committee has allegedly decided to continue the "people's war" against the government contrary to imprisoned SL leader Abimael Guzmán's instructions (LA REPUBLICA 17 Jul 2002) .

Following the above revelations, the Army Intelligence Service (SIE), in cooperation with DIRCOTE, confirmed that Filomeno Cerrón Cardoso, also know as "Comrade Artemio," had been located in the village of Zaipal. From there he is thought to direct the SL Huallaga Regional Committee (CRH). According to a Defense Ministry report obtained by LA REPUBLICA, "Artemio" heads a large group of SL elements who accompany him on all trips to the hamlets of Montero, Chijarrillo, Cachiyacu and Soledad where the group obtains its food and medical supplies. The report also revealed that an SL faction on the right bank of the Huallaga in Aucayacu (Tingo María) had moved into Tocache (San Martín) and Aguaytía (Ucayali) following the capture of one of its members, Helfer Romero Valenzuela (LA REPUBLICA 27 July 2002).

Other information in the report included the following: SL groups in the Central Regional Committee (CRC) collect payoffs from timber dealers in the area, spread propaganda and engage in campaigning aimed at people far removed from the protection of the military forces. They rely on residents in nearby communities, e.g., San Martín de Pangoa in Satipo, Junín, to provide them with facilities for their meetings. This modus operandi is also typical of the Principal Regional Committee (CRP) operating in the Departments of Ayacucho, Apurímac and Huancavelica in such villages as Jeullacocha, Sivia and Jampatuyoc. Members of the CRP travel to Llochegua in the La Mar District and to Carhurán-Santillana and Huanta (Ayacucho) to obtain provisions that are sent on to Mayoc-Churcampa (Huancavelica), where other SL stragglers are thought to be hiding (LA REPUBLICA 27 July 2002).

Over some period of time previous to the report, there had been only one armed confrontation at a location close to Cabayulloc, Ayacucho, which did not result in fatalities or material damage. Thus, the Interior Ministry concluded that the new strategy adopted by SL avoids open confrontations with military forces. It is thought that campaigning and spreading their propaganda is now the preferred modus operandi and that fighting would occur only if initiated by the military. The new strategy is also being pursued by the regional committees for the North and South, mainly in educational centers. Signs of SL presence have been noted on the walls of schools in Huarmaca and Huancabamba, Piura, in the villages of La Pampa, La Cría and Ramos (LA REPUBLICA 27 July 2002).

SL columns in the valleys of the Ene (Junín) and Apurímac (Ayacucho) have allegedly contributed to an increase in drug trafficking in those regions due to their effective resistance to the government's eradication program. In exchange for protection, traffickers provide SL with weapons and money. New territories are thought to be coming under the control of SL as it is able to extend its area of protection, e.g., coca fields are now appearing in La Libertad Department and SL presence has been detected in the valleys of the Mishollo and Pacaichacu Rivers (LA REPUBLICA 27 July 2002).

In keeping with its new nonviolent strategy, the SL's main sources for recruiting followers are currently state-run universities, trade unions and other social organizations. The report claims that SL infiltration of Enrique Guzmán y Valle Education University (La Cantuta), San Marcos, Federico Villarreal and the National Engineering University (UNI) is a confirmed fact. Evidence of SL infiltration at UNI indicates that some student leaders have ties to the SL Metropolitan Committee. Disturbances and attacks on public and private property during recent protest marches and demonstrations by business associations and trade unions are also attributed to SL infiltration (LA REPUBLICA 27 July 2002).

In August of 2002, an EL COMERCIO investigative trip through the central jungles including Pangoa, Río Tambo and Sonomorro, led to the conclusion that SL members are continuing to regroup and become stronger. They appear to be healthy, well-armed and have dollars said to be earned through drug trafficking. Trying to present a new image to the residents, they claim they will not steal, will allow people to continue their work, and will pay for whatever they need with dollars. But community members are still fearful of attacks and have requested increased police patrols (18 August 2002).

Río Tambo Governor Pepe Campos said that SL members are supported by certain lumber enterprises, which are allowed to extract lumber from areas under SL control, and by drug traffickers in exchange for protection. He also reported that SL is in contact with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The Central Jungle Self-Defense Committee Chairman, Blas Yarasca Huamani, noted the increase in drug trafficking in the area. According to members of the Committee, Colombian, Bolivian and Peruvian drug traffickers have established a center of strength in Mayapu, in the Apurímac Valley with the SL providing protection for all of them. Apparently, several meetings between FARC and SL have taken place in recent months. (EL COMERCIO 18 August 2002).

Infiltration of the Bolivian Landless Movement by SL members was also reported in August 2002. The chairman of the Pro Santa Cruz Committee in Bolivia, Lorgi Paz Stelzer, alleged that Peruvians were posing as natives of Potosí in order to create a confrontation between settlers and law enforcement personnel. He further claimed that campesinos who had taken over several farms and ranches were being led by SL members. These groups were well trained, armed and ready to fight, as they did when police tried to evict them from private land in Terebinto (EL DIARIO 22 Aug 2002).

In early September, DIRCOTE captured the SL Metropolitan Regional Committee (CRM) leader, Elki Meza Majino, along with two of his lieutenants. They are thought to be responsible for the El Polo bombing in March and were planning other operations in Lima, including attacks on U.S. dipomatic missions. Three SL members who actually carried out the attack were also arrested in Chiclayo (EL COMERCIO 5 Sep 2002 & 6 Sep 2002). DIRCOTE thinks that the CRM was acting independently of other SL factions and that the order to plant a bomb at El Polo did not come from "Artemio." This may indicate that there has been a further split in SL already divided between the "peace agreement" promoted by Abimael Guzmán and the militaristic "Continuity" group led by "Artemio" (LA REPUBLICA 12 Sep 2002).

Another SL member, Urbano Rodríguez Abregu, alias "Comrade Urbano" or "Rosalino-I," was captured in Canete on September 13th. He was accused of belonging to the Main Regional Committee in Ayacucho and is considered responsible for crimes and subversive actions in Ayacucho, Junín, and Lima. He is suspected also of having participated in the ambush and assassination of 11 police officers Huayapata, the assassination of three officials in Buena Vista, an attack on the governor of Atacocha, looting in the towns of Sacsa, Oroya, Chichos, Villuc, and Miraflores, and assaults on police stations in Acobamba and Leslepata (LA REPUBLICA 17 Sep 2002).

27 Sep 2002 - About 20 armed, masked men identifying themselves as SL members attacked a camp where Techint employees were digging a ditch for the Camisea gas pipeline. The attack occurred in Puyhua, Tambillo District, Ayacucho. Attackers damaged construction equipment and threatened the workers (EL COMERCIO 2 Oct 2002).

In November, Interior Minister Gino Costa reported that an SL guerrilla was killed and that anti-subversive police destroyed three guerrilla camps in the central jungle region; confiscated guns, grenades and ammunition; and released a woman being held hostage (RPP 6 Nov 2002). He later reported that SL members had carried out 15 incursions in Junín, Ayacucho and Huancavelica Departments during the previous weeks warning people not to vote in the 17 Nov. elections (GESTION 15 Nov 2002).

7 Nov 2002 - A group of SL guerrillas led by "Comrade Alipio" entered a community in Huanta Province, Ayacucho, warning inhabitants not to vote on election day (RPP 7 Nov 2002).

15 Nov 2002 - An SL group killed a National Police captain, José Hurtado, and injured four other police officers during an attack in Yanamonte, Huanta, Ayacucho. The previous week, a bomb was set off in front of the national elections office facility in a rural town in the province of Huancavelica (RPP 15 Nov 2002, EFE 16 Nov 2002).

An Ayacucho police report obtained by EL COMERCIO in December 2002 assessed the status of the SL Regional Committee that controls a region of the Apurímac Ene River Valley. According to the report, "Comrade Roger," third in command within this SL faction, stated in a video that SL would protect drug shipments in exchange for money and ammunition. With access to funds, SL no longer attacks villages, but approaches people by telling them it wants to "build a new state." EL COMERCIO provided testimony from a farmer claiming that in September SL guerrillas were making incursions into many towns, such as Maveni, Atalaya and Quimpiri, among others in the Ene Valley. Other residents of the area confirmed that SL was providing security to drug traffickers in Tío Rico, Aviandorcito, Chaqi and Mopri. The police report noted that the area called "Oreja de Perro" (Dog's Ear) located in the northern region of Ayacucho is controlled by a faction of SL under the leadership of Comrades Alipio (1st), Dalton (2nd) and Roger (3rd) (EL COMERCIO 15 Dec 2002).

Toward the end of December, LA REPUBLICA reported that landless peasants were being held captive by SL groups in five remote jungle areas in Junín and Ayacucho Departments. More specifically, the groups are located on the banks of the Anapati, Tincabeni, Tsomabeni, Yaviro and Vizcatán Rivers. These rivers flow into the left bank of the Ene River. The first four areas are in Satipo Province, Junín, and the fifth is in the hills of Huanta Province, Ayacucho. These enclaves are in extremely harsh terrain with almost perpetual fog and frequent rain, as well as endemic diseases, all of which prevent the authorities from intervening and allow the subversives to operate with complete impunity. The 200 captive families are from the native communities of Santa Rosita, Betania, Cutivireni, Anapati, and Tsomabeni and nearly all are of Asháninka ethnicity. Their original habitat is close to the mouth of the Mantaro River and the area where Junín, Ayacucho, and Cusco Departments meet. The peasants are required to provide services ranging from food preparation, child care, protective and security functions, and agricultural work. They also accompany SL members on trips to populated areas to give the impression of large numbers of guerrillas, and transport coca leaves from site to site. Due to shortages of food in these enclaves, the captives reportedly suffer from malnutrition (LA REPUBLICA 28 Dec 2002).

The SL groups described immediately above are reported to be those originally led by "Feliciano" after the arrest of Guzmán in 1992 and are thought to comprise the Main Regional Committee of Ayacucho and the Central Regional Committee of Junín (LA REPUBLICA 28 Dec 2002). Whether they are the same groups as those now reportedly led by "Alipio" (described in the previous paragraph) is not clear; however, based on the description of the region under control, it appears that they are the same groups. However, the sources cited are somewhat conflictive in their portrayal of the groups. On the one hand, they are described as being more solicitous toward the local peasants in attempts to recruit them. On the other, they are portrayed as being fairly repressive, at least in the case of the groups holding Asháninka peasants captive.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the RIC 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.

References:

Agence France Presse (AFP). SHINING PATH TAKES OVER TWO TOWNS... (Paris: 30 May 2001) - FBIS.

Agence France Presse (AFP). SHINING PATH ATTACKS MILITARY POST... (Paris: 8 Apr 2001) - FBIS.

Agence France Presse (AFP). POLICE REPORTS SIX PEOPLE WOUNDED IN SHINING PATH ATTACK (Paris: 8 Jul 2000) - FBIS.

Agence France Presse (AFP). SHINING PATH GROUP KILLS CIVILIAN IN ROAD ATTACK (Paris: 4 Aug 2000) - FBIS.

Agence France Presse (AFP). SHINING PATH KILLS 8 PEASANT 'STOOL PIGEONS' (Paris: 15 Jun 1999) - FBIS.

America Television Network (ATN). AMERICAS NEWSCAST (Lima: 29 May 1999) - FBIS.

ANDEAN GROUP REPORT. "Artemio Takes Control of Sendero" (London: Latin American Newsletters, 27 Jul 1999), p. 3.

CARETAS. "The Deadly Blow of Terror" (Lima: 27 Mar 2002) - FBIS.

ECONOMIST. "Outlaw" (10 Jul 1999), p. 32.

EFE Wire Service. PERUVIAN POLICE OFFICER KILLED IN CLASH WITH SHINING PATH (Panama City: 16 Nov 2002) - FBIS.

EFE Wire Service. PERU: SHINING PATH MEMBER ARRESTED IN ANCASH (Madrid: 2 Oct 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Charging Drug Traffickers for Protection" (Lima: 15 Dec 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Construction Site Attackers Claim Shining Path Affiliation" (Lima: 2 Oct 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Planned Attacks on U.S. Embassy" (Lima 6 Sep 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Lima SL Leaders Captured" (Lima 5 Sep 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Terrorists Regrouping" (Lima 18 Aug 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "SL Members Captured" (Lima: 12 Jun 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "SL Terrorist Actions Increased in 2001" (Lima: 23 May 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Members Present on Several University Campuses" (Lima: 10 May 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Weapons Cache Discovered" (Lima: 28 Apr 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Police Find Shining Path Camps" (Lima: 26 Apr 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "SL Presence in Jungle Region Viewed" (Lima: 25 Feb 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Rospigliosi Confirms SL Drug Connection" (Lima: 25 Feb 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "PNP Officer on SL Actions in Ayacucho" (Lima: 25 Feb 2002) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "SL presumed Responsible for Pylon Explosions" (Lima: 4 Dec 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Police Seize Military Weapons from Shining Path" (6 Nov 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Army Pursues Shining Path Group" (Lima: 25 Sep 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Leader Captured" (Lima: 31 May 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Anti-Terrorist Forces to Deploy to Junin Department" (Lima: 25 May 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Members Captured" (Lima; 21 Mar 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Group in Vizcatan" (Lima: 16 Mar 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Leader 'Cirilo' Captured in Pichari" (Lima: 7 Mar 2001) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Arms Seized from Terrorists" (Lima: 16 Nov 2000) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Soldier Wounded in Clash" (Lima: 27 Oct 2000) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Shining Path Members Kill Reformed Terrorist" (Lima: 3 Oct 2000) - FBIS.

EL COMERCIO. "Three Soldiers Dead, One Wounded by Shining Path (Lima: 26 Aug 2000) - FBIS.

EL DIARIO. " Peruvian Shining Path Members Infiltrate Landless Movement" (22 Aug 2002) - FBIS.

GESTION. "Terrorists Seek Election Boycott" (Lima: 15 Nov 2002) - FBIS.

GESTION. "FARC, Red Fatherland Links Under Investigation" (Lima: 5 Jul 2002) - FBIS.

GESTION. "Police Closely Watching Suspected Terrorists" (5 Dec 2001). - FBIS.

Inter Press Service (IPS). POLITICS PERU: INDIGENOUS FIGHTERS MOBILISE AGAINST GUERRILLAS (15 Oct 1999), www.ips.org.

LA REPUBLICA. "Shining Path Remnants Oppressing Indigenous Populations" (Lima: 31 Dec 2002) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Shining Path Holds 200 Area Families Captive in Remote Jungle" (28 Dec 2002) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Shining Path Member Captured" (Lima: 17 Sep 2002) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Latest Arrests Could Reveal New Shining Path Faction" (12 Sep 2002) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Defense Report Sees Inscreased Shining Path Drug Activity" (Lima: 27 Jul 2002) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "SL Reportedly Planning Assassinations" (Lima: 17 Jul 2002) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "SL Southern Region Leader Arrested" (Lima: 14 Jun 2002) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "SL Communicates by E-Mail" (Lima: 5 Dec 2001) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Peru: Arrested SL Members Allegedly Reorganized Front Groups" (Lima: 3 Dec 2001) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Shining Path Members Captured" (Lima: 22 Oct 2001) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "SL Said to Be Regrouping" (Lima: 2 Sep 2001) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Base Closures Hurt Anti-SL Effort" (Lima: 21 Aug 2001) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Shining Path Terrorists Attack Base, Police Station" (Lima: 28 Jun 1999) - FBIS.

LA REPUBLICA. "Army, Shining Path Clash; 4 Rebels Killed (Lima: 20 Jan 1999), p. 27 - Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).

LATIN AMERICAN WEEKLY REPORT (LAWR). "Guerrillas Prove They Are Still Around" (12 Oct 1999).

NEWSWEEK. "Peru's Security Forces Capture the Mythic and Elusive Leader of the Shining Path Guerrillas" (28 Sep 1992) - Nexis.

Notimex. SHINING PATH GROUP ATTACKS MILITARY HELICOPTER (Mexico City: 18 Feb 2001) - FBIS.

Notimex. DYNAMITE EXPLOSION DAMAGES 7 HOUSES IN HUARAZ (Mexico City: 23 Oct 2000) - FBIS.

Notimex. SHINING PATH ACTION LEAVES ONE DEAD, SIX INJURED (Mexico City: 21 Feb 2000) - FBIS.

Panamericana Television. BUENOS DIAS, PERU (Lima: 13 Dec 2001) - FBIS.

Panamericana Television. BUENOS DIAS, PERU (Lima: 4 Dec 2001) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). GREAT SUMMARY OF THE HOUR )Lima: 15 Nov 2002) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). GREAT SUMMARY OF THE HOUR (Lima: 7 Nov 2002) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). GREAT SUMMARY OF THE HOUR (6 Nov 2002) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). GREAT SUMMARY OF THE HOUR (Lima: 5 Jul 2002) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). TOLEDO REPORTS CAPTURE OF SHINING PATH MEMBERS INVOLVED IN ATTACK ON SHOPPING CENTER (Lima: 12 Jun 2002) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). GRAN RESUMEN DE LA HORA. "Yurino Aguirre Report from Guanuco" (30 May 2002) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). MINISTER CAUTIONS AGAINST POSSIBLE SHINING PATH ATTACKS ON US INTERESTS (Lima: 3 May 2002) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). PERU: OFFICIAL SAYS LESS THAN 250 SHINING PATH MEMBERS IN JUNGLE AREA (Lima: 27 Feb 2002) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). SHINING PATH LEADER 'COMRADE ALIPIO' CAPTURED (Lima: 4 Mar 2001) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). PERUVIAN POLICE CAPTURE TWO SHINING PATH MEMBERS (Lima: 10 Nov 2000) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). SHINING PATH TERRORISTS TAKE OVER MOLLEPATA FOR 5 HOURS (Lima: 14 Jul 2000) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). SHINING PATH REPORTEDLY HOLDING 80 ASHANINKAS FOR VOTING FOR FUJIMORI (Lima: 13 Jul 2000) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). ARMY KILLS SHINING PATH MEMBER IN ALTO HUAMUCO (Lima: 25 Apr 2000) - FBIS.

Radio Programas del Peru (RPP). SHINING PATH KILLS 6 IN RIO FRIO (Lima: 4 Jun 1999) - FBIS.

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