News from the People's War in Peru:
Clashes in Huallaga and Ayacucho
Revolutionary Worker #977, October 11, 1998
The following news reports about recent actions by the People's Liberation Army, led by the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), were taken from the web site of the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (CSRP).
The Peruvian security forces reported a clash between their troops and PCP fighters in the region of Vizcatan (in the department of Ayacucho) on March 12, 1998. It was claimed that 10 guerrilla fighters were killed, while one government soldier was killed and six injured. The report noted that "an Army helicopter was not able to land and rescue the [government's] injured because of the inhospitable and difficult access" and because the revolutionary forces "were firing continuously on the military aircraft." (El Comercio)
On April 22, 1998 the Peruvian newspaper La República reported that a column of 40 PCP fighters carried out two temporary takeovers of towns near Tingo María in the Huallaga River Valley within a week. During May, there were reports of several other takeovers in the same Amazon jungle region, 250 miles northeast of Lima. According to police reports, a column of between 60 and 100 PCP-led guerrillas marched into Puente Duran on May 23, gathering the inhabitants for speeches in the town square, and one man with government connections was reportedly killed. On May 27, police reported that Maoist guerrillas occupied two more towns for several hours, giving speeches on the People's War (Reuters).
This series of takeovers is especially significant because the jungle region near Tingo María has been a base area of popular support for the PCP, and has come under fierce counterinsurgency attack. The government built a military base there ("Counter-subversive Base #313") and has been developing and arming paramilitary forces, or rondas, in the area.
In another May action, the Peruvian army reported that a group of about 50 PCP guerrillas ambushed their patrol in the jungle-covered mountains of Ayacucho region, killing two soldiers and wounding six (Reuters).
A July 24, 1998 report describes a PCP takeover in the Upper Huallaga region by a column of between 30 and 50 Maoist rebels. Reportedly the action was part of a campaign to promote a boycott of the municipal elections scheduled for October 11 (La República). The action was apparently punctuated by the knocking down of three high-tension electrical towers.
On August 8, 1998, police reported that PCP guerrillas again took over a nearby town square while simultaneously attacking a local police station (AP). On August 13, Radioprogramas del Peru reported a soldier killed during a four-hour gunfight as his unit attempted to track this column of guerrillas.
On September 24, 1998 Associated Press reported that PCP guerrillas occupied the main plaza of Aucayacu (in the Leoncio Prado province of the Huanuco department), a town of 21,000 people in Peru's central jungle 230 miles northeast of Lima. The revolutionary fighters dynamited city hall and urged residents not to vote in upcoming municipal elections. "The rebels raised a red flag with a hammer and sickle in the plaza, opened fire on the local police station and painted `Don't Vote' on the walls, in reference to Peru's October 11 municipal elections. No one was reported killed or injured in the attack." La República reported that the rebels retreated during a shootout with police after hundreds of flyers were distributed. A government Health Ministry spokesperson said the PCP was taking advantage of the extreme poverty, severe malnutrition, and increasing cases of tuberculosis in the Aucayacu area to gain support.
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