Shining Path leader Comrade Artemio captured
The leader of Peru’s Shining Path rebel group has been captured, government officials have announced.
The guerrilla leader known as “Comrade Artemio” was found badly wounded after a clash with troops in a remote jungle region, the defence minister said.
The Maoist Shining Path movement posed a major challenge to the Peruvian state in the 1980s and 90s.
But it is now reduced to a small remnant that is heavily involved in the cocaine trade.
“Peru has won,” declared President Ollanta Humala before travelling to the area where the rebel leader was captured.
Officials said Artemio – whose real name is Florindo Eleuterio Flores – was captured near Tocache in the Alto Huallaga region, which is a centre of illegal cocaine production.
Initial reports said the rebel leader was dead, but Defence Minister Alberto Otarola said he was found alive but badly wounded.
“He has practically lost his right arm and he is being given medical attention,” Mr Otarola said.
Last December Artemio admitted to reporters that the Shining Path had been defeated, and said the remaining rebels were ready to negotiate with the government.
An estimated 70,000 Peruvians died in the conflict between the Shining Path and government forces, which peaked in the 1980s and early 90s.
Inspired by Maoism, the rebels tried to lead a “People’s War” to overthrow what they called “bourgeois democracy” and establish a Communist state.
But the movement lost force after the capture of its founder and leader Abimael Guzman in 1992.
The remnants of the Shining Path have fought on in the Alto Huallaga and Ene-Apurimac valleys – two remote jungle regions dominated by the cocaine trade.
The capture of Artemio is the first major blow to the rebels since President Humala took office last July.
Mr Humala fought against the guerrillas as an army officer in the 1990s.
so what now for Mr Artemio?..not much business for a revolutionary leader with no revolutionaries..