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Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Shining Path

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 April 2014
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Shining Path, 30 April 2014, available at: [accessed 24 October 2017]
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.

aka SL; Sendero Luminoso; Ejercito Guerrillero Popular (People's Guerrilla Army); EGP; Ejercito Popular de Liberacion (People's Liberation Army); EPL; Partido Comunista del Peru (Communist Party of Peru); PCP; Partido Comunista del Peru en el Sendero Luminoso de Jose Carlos Mariategui (Communist Party of Peru on the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui); Socorro Popular del Peru (People's Aid of Peru); SPP

Description: The Shining Path (SL) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. Former university professor Abimael Guzman formed SL in Peru in the late 1960s, and his teachings created the foundation of SL's militant Maoist doctrine. SL's stated goal is to destroy existing Peruvian institutions and replace them with a communist peasant revolutionary regime. It also opposes any influence by foreign governments. In the 1980s, SL was one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the Western Hemisphere. The Peruvian government made dramatic gains against SL during the 1990s, capturing Guzman in 1992, and killing a large number of militants. The SL faction that previously operated in the Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV) collapsed following the capture of its leader, Florindo Flores Hala, better known as Comrade Artemio, in February 2012. Separately, the much larger and stronger rival SL faction in the Apurimac, Ene, and Montaro River Valley (VRAEM) expanded in 2012; but on August 10, 2013, an operation conducted by a joint military-police task force in the VRAEM resulted in the deaths of two of the SL's top leaders, Alejandro Borda Casafranca (also known as Comrade Alipio) and Martin Quispe Palomino (also known as Comrade Gabriel). Alipio was the SL's number two overall leader and widely recognized as its most capable and dangerous field commander. Gabriel occupied a spot on SL's Central Committee and was the brother of the faction's supreme leader, Victor Quispe Palomino (also known as Comrade Jose).

The demise of Alipio and Gabriel was the biggest blow sustained by the SL since the capture of SL's then-national leader, Comrade Feliciano, in 1999.

Activities: SL carried out nearly 50 terrorist acts in 2013, a noticeable decline from the 87 acts it committed in 2012. In March, SL rebels allegedly destroyed three telephone towers in the province of Tayacaja, Huancavelica. The following month, SL blew up a fourth tower in an isolated coca-growing region in southeastern Peru. In April, a Peruvian soldier was killed and another injured when SL rebels ambushed their military post in the VRAEM. In November, SL snipers killed a solder at the Union Mantaro counterterrorism base in Junin's Satipo province in the VRAEM. In July, SL members torched 20 vehicles belonging to a construction company that had refused to pay protection money, destroying over US $5 million in equipment.

Strength: The VRAEM faction is believed to have between 300 and 500 members.

Location/Area of Operation: Peru, with most activity in rural areas, specifically the Huallaga Valley and the Apurimac, Ene, and Montaro River Valley of central Peru.

Funding and External Aid: SL is primarily funded by the illicit narcotics trade.

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