Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 - Peru

Although there were no international acts of terrorism in Peru in 2001, the number of domestic terrorist acts (130 by year's end) increased markedly and eclipsed the number perpetrated in the previous three years. Most incidents occurred in remote areas of Peru associated with narcotics trafficking. Sendero Luminoso (SL) was the most active terrorist group – in fact, the level of SL-related activity and its aggressive posture appeared to be on the rise through 2001. The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, although active politically, was not known to have committed any terrorist acts in 2001. US citizen Lori Berenson received a civilian re-trial and was once again convicted for terrorism based on her involvement with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Front, or MRTA. (The conviction and sentence were upheld by the Peruvian Supreme Court 18 February 2002.) Peruvian police also were investigating a series of attacks against Lima's electric power companies' infrastructure throughout the fall.

In a notable case in late November, Peruvian police thwarted a possible SL terrorist attack against a likely US target – possibly the US Embassy – when it arrested two Lima SL cell members. At the time of his arrest, one cell member possessed paper scraps with route diagrams and addresses of several US-affiliated facilities in Lima. Although they were still investigating the incident at year's end, Peruvian officials suspected that the SL had planned a car-bomb attack against US interests to coincide with the 3 December birthday of jailed SL founder Abimael Guzman. (Car bombings were a regular component of SL's modus operandi during the 1980s and early 1990s.)

Peru continued to pursue a number of individuals accused of committing terrorist acts in 2001, and notable captures included several key SL members. Among these were the arrests in October of Ruller Mazoombite (a.k.a. Camarada Cayo), chief of the protection team for SL leader Macario Ala (a.k.a. Artemio), and Evoricio Ascencios (a.k.a. Camarada Canale), the logistics chief of the Huallaga Regional Committee. By the end of November, some 259 suspected terrorists had been arrested.

Since September 11, Lima has been a regional leader in strongly supporting antiterrorism initiatives through the drafting and passage of key legislation (some still pending at year's end) against money laundering as well as adopting an even more active stance against terrorism in general. In late September, Peru introduced a draft Inter-American Convention against Terrorism at the OAS and, in October, assumed the chair of the Border Controls Working Group of the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism. Peru has remained very receptive to antiterrorism training opportunities and has participated in the US State Department Antiterrorism Training Assistance program since 1986. Peru has yet to issue blocking orders on terrorist assets, however.

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