On March 5, a special intelligence unit of Peru’s National Police announced the arrest of Walter Díaz Vega AKA “Freddy” or “Percy”—said to be the successor of the Shining Path leader “Comrade Artemio,” himself captured weeks earlier. Comrade Freddy was apprehended in the hamlet of Alto Alianza, José Crespo y Castillo district, Leoncio Prado province, Huánuco region. The hamlet is in the Magdalena Valley, an arm of the Upper Huallaga Valley, one of two zones of the country where a state of emergency remains in effect due to Shining Path activity. Comrade Freddy, apparently betrayed by infiltrators, was transfered to the National Anti-Terrorism Directorate (DIRCOTE) in Lima for interrogation. The National Police hailed the arrest as a “mortal blow” against the Shining Path.
The campaign against the Shining Path remnant in the Upper Huallaga, optimiostically dubbed Operation Crepúsculo (Sunset), is being jointly led by two elite National Police units, the National Anti-Drug Directorate (DIRANDRO) and the Special Investigations Division (DIVINESP). Crepúsculo leaders said Comrade Freddy was preparing a campaign of “selective assassinations” against those who had assisted authorities in the apprehension of Artemio. Police now say they are hunting down a third figure in the line of succession, Daniel Arturo Atencia Beaún—supposedly named by another guerilla leader captured along with Artemio, Teófilo Huarauya AKA “Comrade Cubillas” or “Lander” who is evidently now cooperating with authorities. Other top figures in the Shining Path column were identified with the code-names of “Eder” and “Piculín.” (La Republica, Peru21, March 6; Andina, March 5, RPP, Feb. 13)
But lawmaker Jorge Rimarachín stirred controversy when he said that President Ollanta Humala was using the capture of Artemio as a “smokescreen” (cortina de humo) to distract the public from Peru’s social conflicts. He was subsequently expelled from Humala’s Nationalist Party and ruling Gana Peru coalition. (La Republica, March 9)
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