Peru rebels re­group­ing in nearby na­tions

The Washington Times Weekly - - World - By Martin Arostegui

SANTA CRUZ, Bo­livia — Peru’s Tu­pac Amaru Revo­lu­tion­ary Move­ment (MRTA), which made in­ter­na­tional head­lines with the De­cem­ber 1996 seizure of the Ja­panese Em­bassy in Lima, is re­group­ing in Bo­livi­aan­doth­erneigh­bor­ing­coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to a Peru­vian intelligence re­ports cited in the lo­cal press.

“Sur­viv­ing MRTA cadres have in­stalled them­selves out­side the coun­try.Twoim­por­tant­cell­shaveestab­lished them­selves in Bo­livia and Chile, coun­tries which have been usedas­sup­port­bas­es­fortheir­le­gal, po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary ob­jec­tives,” ac­cord­ing­toPeru’slargest­news­pa­per ElComer­cio,which­last­mon­thcited na­tional po­lice re­ports.

Warn­ings of an MRTA re­ac­ti­va­tion fol­low a se­cu­rity crack­down in Peru’s jun­gle re­gions to counter a resur­gence of guer­ril­las from an­other rebel group, the Shin­ing Path.

Both­group­swere­high­ly­ac­tivein the 1980s and 1990s. While Shin­ing Path was a largely rural-based in­sur­gent move­ment, MRTA fo­cused pri­mar­ily on high-profile tar­gets in ur­ban ar­eas.

MRTA leader Nestor Cerpa and 14 com­rades were killed when U.S.trained Peru­vian com­man­dos stormed the Ja­panese Em­bassy in April 1997 to free 72 hostages, in­clud­ing a num­ber of for­eign am­bas­sadors and top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who had been held for sev­eral months.

The Peru­vian gov­ern­ment re­cently asked for the ex­tra­di­tion of sev­er­alMRTAmem­ber­swhoar­ere­ported to be in Bo­livia, where the grouph­a­sits“main­base,”ac­cord­ing totheBo­li­vian­news­pa­perLaRa­zon.

They­in­cludeJulioCe­sarVasquez, who has ar­ranged joint ter­ror­ist train­ing with the Revo­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia (FARC) and is now thought to be op­er­at­ing in Cochabamba.

MRTA has main­tained close ties with rad­i­cal In­dian move­ments, which­havere­cent­ly­gained­po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence.

Bo­livia Vice Pres­i­dent Al­varo Gar­cia Lin­era was a chief ide­o­logue of the Tu­pac Katari Guer­rilla Army, anMRTAoff­shoot­that­car­ried­outa se­ries of ter­ror­ist at­tacks dur­ing the 1990s, op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers say.

Op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers also say that a prom­i­nent aid to left­ist Pres­i­den­tEvoMo­rale­shashadlinkswith ex­trem­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions in Peru.

“In the past th­ese groups have op­er­ated in Bo­livia, so we can­not dis­card any­thing. But the in­for­ma­tion is sen­si­tive and we have to eval­u­ate and in­ves­ti­gate it,” said Juan Car­los Saa, chief in­spec­tor of Bo­livia’s po­lice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.