According to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, intelligence reports indicate three terrorists killed during a recent military ambush are the high command of the Shining Path guerrilla organization.
The three men, believed to be Shining Path head, Alejandro Borda Casafranca, a.k.a. Comrade Alipio; second in command Martin Quispe Palomino, a.k.a. Comrade Gabriel; and another man named Comrade Alfonso, were killed in what the president called, a “structured operation in the jungles of Ayacucho by a combined National Police and the Army team in the VRAEM zone, PeruThisWeek
Humala said the armed forces were able to seize a large quantity of weapons, and that they had no casualties.
The clash is believed to have occurred late Sunday or early Monday in the Ayacucho region, where most of Peru's coca is grown, the BBC reported
Although the Shining Path was largely defeated in the 1990s, remnants continue to be active in some areas of the country.
Security forces say the Shining Path has formed an alliance with drug traffickers and finances its operations by growing and smuggling coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.
Much of the illegal drug is produced in the Ene-Apurimac valley in southern Peru (known as VRAE) - a Shining Path stronghold.
Humala has made bringing peace to the VRAE one of his top priorities since coming to office in July 2011.
Inspired by Maoism, the rebels tried to lead a "People's War" to establish a communist state. Although the Shining Path posed a serious threat to the Peruvian government in the 1980s, most of its leaders have been captured or killed and its territory has been reduced to small areas in the VRAE.
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