New Sendero attack in Peru’s conflicted VRAE

An army sergeant was killed and another wounded Feb. 26 in a Sendero Luminoso attack on Bajo Somabeni Counter-Terrorist Base at San Martín de Pangoa, Junín department, in Peru’s conflicted Río Apurímac-Ene Valley (VRAE). With the death of Sgt. Ronald Gabriel, the number of soldiers killed in the VRAE, a remaining pocket of Sendero activity, since Aug. 30, 2008 reaches 43. (AP via Univision, Reuters via Terra, Feb. 26)

Defense Minister Rafael Rey announced earlier this month that South Korea has donated eight used A-37 Dragonfly light warplanes to Peru, to be used to police the VRAE and survey the border region in Peru’s northeast Amazon region, in compliance with the 1978 Amazon Cooperation Treaty. (Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times, Feb. 5)

In a move hailed by the government as a step towards bringing peace to the VRAE, Asháninka indigenous leaders met with local officials and campesino representatives at Satipo to sign a “Unity Pact for Governability,” affirming mutual commitment to a “pluricultural” future for the zone. The ongoing insurgency has escalated tension between the VRAE’s indigenous Asháninka and campesino settlers from the Andes, among whom Sendero has established a base of support. (Servindi, Feb. 25)

See our last post on Peru and the struggle for the Amazon

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