Police arrest Shining Path leader
LIMA | Peruvian police Sunday said they had arrested a suspected leader of a Maoist faction of the Shining Path rebel movement who was the apparent successor to Comrade Artemio, who was captured last month.
National Police Director Raul Salazar told local media that Walter Diaz Vega, also known as “Freddy” or “Percy,” was snared in the mountainous jungle region of Alto Huallaga.
Mr. Diaz Vega “was the successor of Artemio and responsible for organizing an armed column in Alto Huallaga,” Mr. Salazar said.
“His capture took place on Saturday,” and Mr. Diaz Vega “had intended to annihilate the informants who infiltrated [the rebels] to allow the capture of Artemio in February,” the police director added.
Mr. Diaz Vega will face multiple terrorism charges, Mr. Salazar said.
Comrade Artemio, whose real name is Florindo Eleuterio Flores, was captured Feb. 12 after a fierce gun battle with government forces in which he was wounded. He is to be tried on charges of terrorism and drug trafficking.
Artemio, 47, led one of two splinter groups of the Maoist insurgency that terrorized Peruvians in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Shining Path suffered a crippling blow when its founder and leader, Abimael Guzman, was captured in 1992. Authorities soon discovered other group leaders, and the remaining fighters fled into the jungle where they survived as hired guns for drug traffickers.