LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Nine Peruvian soldiers were killed during a weekend
clash with a group of about 60 Maoist-Shining Path rebels in Peru's central
jungle, President Alberto Fujimori said Monday.
Two rebels also died in the gunfire, exchanged on Saturday afternoon along
the Anapati River, near the small jungle town of Satipo, 300 kilometers (180
miles) east of the capital Lima, said the president.
Military units, totaling 400 soldiers, were pursuing the rebels through
rugged jungle territory, still classified as an emergency zone, when the
confrontation took place, Fujimori said in a news conference at the
Military units have stepped up operations in Peru's highlands and jungle
search of the rebel group's diminishing forces.
Fujimori said Peru's military would continue "to pursue, capture and
annihilate" the rebels.
"This hunt will continue until the Shining Path has been eradicated," he said.
The Shining Path suffered a severe blow on July 14 with the capture of
national leader, Oscar Ramirez Durand.
Durand is now serving a life sentence in the maximum-security naval prison
in Lima's port of Callao, along with Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman,
who was captured in a Lima safe house in 1992.
The Shining Path in the late 1980s and early 1990s almost brought the
Peruvian government to its knees, assassinating mayors and informers in the
countryside and waging a vicious car-bombing campaign in Lima.
Filomeno Cerron Cardoso, who fights under the name "Comrade Artemio,"
now heads the group, although Fujimori has said authorities are not sure of
the rebel leader's true identity.
Fighting has left 30,000 dead since 1980, including soldiers, rebels and
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.