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Peru: Has the area of Ayacucho been the target of Sendero Luminoso (SL) attacks, been under military control, suffered abuses by the military and have those who have worked with the military there been the target of threats by SL? 1986-1990

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 August 1990
Citation / Document Symbol PER5825
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Peru: Has the area of Ayacucho been the target of Sendero Luminoso (SL) attacks, been under military control, suffered abuses by the military and have those who have worked with the military there been the target of threats by SL? 1986-1990, 1 August 1990, PER5825, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac3cc.html [accessed 1 October 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.

 

The following information is found in various sources currently available to the IRBDC:

A number of provinces of the department of Ayacucho, including that encompassing the department's capital city of the same name and its outskirts, have been placed under State of Emergency regulations and military control since December 1982. State of Emergency has been extended and remains in effect in most of the southern highlands, including the department of Ayacucho. Although various sources pointed out that human rights abuses apparently decreased during the first years of the García administration, a rise in such abuses has been reported for the last years. Armed confrontations between SL columns and patrols of the armed forces or peasant communities in Ayacucho have been reported many times throughout the abovementioned timeframe. Selective attacks on individuals by SL have taken place in the city of Ayacucho and other surrounding areas, and raids against villages in Ayacucho accused by SL of collaborating with the armed forces or the peasant patrols have been carried out with increasing frequency in recent months.

Suffering setbacks in the area of Ayacucho, Sendero was reported to have concentrated its operations in the Upper Huallaga valley, the cocaine-producing area of the high jungle, cooperating with drug-trafficking organizations; this cooperation, according to Sendero Luminoso, is due to the group's defense of coca-growers' income, but it is reported the Sendero receives weapons and a percentage of the traffickers' income, allegedly in exchange for keeping security forces out of the area (Latin American Weekly Report, 2 March 1989, p. 4; "Drugs, guerrillas a potent combination in Peru", "With the Shining Path"). The armed forces launched a major counter-insurgency offensive throughout the Upper Huallaga valley in July 1989, resulting in the death of hundreds of guerrillas and renewed army control of the region (Andean Newsletter, 8 August 1989, pp. 5-7). The army command responsible for the area has been accused of abuses and cooperating with the drug business, but its leadership has stated that fighting coca growers without giving them the opportunity to commercialize other crops would only play in the guerrillas favour, and has reportedly advocated crop substitution programmes ("The general and the cocaleros").

A recent Amnesty International report on Peru accused government forces of torturing and killing suspects as part of its counter-insurgency operations. Although the government categorically denied Amnesty International's accusations ("Government denies Amnesty charges"), information gathered by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances indicated that 288 cases of disappearance were denounced between January and August 1989 (Andean Newsletter, December 1989, p. 6). Disappearances have been blamed mostly on the military, particularly in the Ayacucho area (Annual report of APRODEH). Though many persons, reported to have disappeared, turned up alive afterwards, the bodies of disappearance victims are rarely found (Country Reports 1987, p. 589, and Americas Watch, Tolerating Abuses. p. 40). Others reported disappeared have been found dead soon after their arrest by military personnel (Amnesty International, Amnesty Report 1987: Peru).

The most serious threats to freedom of the press occur in the emergency areas where insurgency and counter-insurgency operations are carried out, with restrictions or banning being imposed on reporting, and murders or disappearance of journalists over the last years being attributed to guerrillas, military personnel and, on one occasion, a peasant community (L'Information dans le Monde, p. 445). A serious problem since 1987 is the virtual barring, by the military, of travel in the countryside of the Ayacucho and other emergency zones, apparently in response to a 1986 media exposé of human rights violations there (Country Reports 1987, p. 594; Country Reports 1988, p. 689) .

Various sources indicate Sendero Luminoso (SL) does not usually reivindicate its actions, although some sources attribute it acts based upon characteristics of the attacks, areas of operation and coverage in either El Diario or Cambio magazines, linked respectively to Sendero Luminoso and the MRTA (As stated, for example, in Tolerating Abuses, p. 55, in "Aprovechando el P nico", and in "MRTA: Nuevo Azote"). One such source is the Peruvian weekly newsmagazine Caretas, which publishes a weekly report on terrorist and guerrilla activities of both Sendero Luminoso and the MRTA. The following is an IRBDC translation of such reports referring to Sendero Luminoso activities in Ayacucho from some of the latest issues of that magazine currently available to the IRBDC (28 December 1989 and 15 January 1990).

28 December 1989 issue, p. 22:

Monday 18 (December 1989)

(Unless otherwise stated, first name refers to the Department in which actions took place)

*Ayacucho: SL bombs the house of the rector of the University of Huamanga.

Thursday 21

*Huanta (Ayacucho department): SL kills a businesswoman in the Huanta-Ayacucho highway.

Friday 22

*Ayacucho: SL kills 11 peasants in the Pallca annex for having attended the municipal elections.

15 January 1990 issue, p. 24:

Monday 8 (January)

*Ayacucho: SL downs electric transmission towers and leaves without electricity the provinces of Huanta and Huamanga.

Thursday 11

*Ayacucho: SL burns San Francisco's district council, causing considerable loss.

Friday 12

*Ayacucho: SL kills governor and assaults Popular Cooperation (a government development agency) office.

What follows are a few examples of attacks attributed to SL, except for the first one listed, in Ayacucho in 1988:

-13 October 1988: two marines are shot on a street of Ayacucho (authorship of the crime not indicated in the source)(Latin America Daily Report, FBIS 19 October 1988, p. 40);

-On October 21, 1988, a rebel group attacks the house of APRA

secretary general in Ayacucho, injuring its occupants. (Latin America Daily Report, (Washington, Foreign Broadcast Information Service), 25 October 1988, p.42)

-On October 27, Shining Path killed a community leader in front

of his relatives and local residents, in Huanta Province, Ayacucho Department. (Latin America Daily Report, 28 October 1988. p.30)

-On November 19, a day after leaving his town because of threats by Shining Path, APRA mayor of Tocctos is killed together with his daughter.(Latin America Daily Report, 21 November 1988, p.42)

-On November 21, on the road to the jungle area of Ayacucho, Shining Path blows up a bus carrying 40 passengers, killing 12 instantly. (Latin America Daily Report, 22 November 1988, p.42)

-Rebels murder a town mayor, his secretary and driver on their way to Ayacucho, December 15. (Latin America Daily Report, 19 December 1988, p.43).

Regarding threats against those who have collaborated with the armed forces, specific reports on threats against individuals who have worked with the military could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC. However, the following information may be of interest.

Sendero is reported to have routinely used force and intimidation, in particular assassination, to impose its control over certain areas (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1987, p. 587). People who have been identified as "traitors" by Sendero are targets for harassment, intimidation and murder and, in the cities, Sendero has reportedly committed assassinations more for propaganda purposes than strategic or ideological reasons (Ibid). The same source indicates that since 1986 Sendero has increased its attacks on individuals, assassinating policemen, armed forces personnel, government and ruling party officials, as well as non-supporting peasants. Members of labour organizations and legal parties who have refused to collaborate with the organization have also been reported to be targeted for reprisal by Sendero (Amnesty International Report 1988, pp. 132-133).

Bibliography:

-Latin American Weekly Report, (London, Latin American Newsletters), 2 March 1989, p. 4;

-"Drugs, guerrillas a potent combination in Peru", in The Toronto Star, 22 January 1989, p. H4;

-"With the Shining Path", in Newsweek, 24 April 1989, pp. 44-45, 49;

-Andean Newsletter, August 1989, pp. 5-7; December 1989, p. 6;

-"The general and the cocaleros", in The Economist, 9 December 1989;

-"Government denies Amnesty charges", in The Lima Times, 8 December 1989, p. 2;

-Annual report of APRODEH, as quoted in "Mar De Fondo", Caretas, 23 January 1989, p. 24;

-Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1987, (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1988), p. 589;

-Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988, (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1989), p. 689;

-Americas Watch, Tolerating Abuses: Violations of Human Rights in Peru, (Washington: Americas Watch, October 1988), pp. 40, 55;

-Amnesty International, Amnesty Report 1987: Peru (London: 1988);

-L'Information dans le Monde, (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1989)

p. 445;

-"Aprovechando el P nico", in Caretas, 23 January 1988, p. 39;

-"MRTA: Nuevo Azote", in Caretas, 15 January 1990, p. 18;

-Amnesty International Report 1988, (London, Amnesty International), pp. 132-133;

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 http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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