April 24, 1998

Peru says police smash Shining Path in Lima

CHICLAYO, Peru, April 24 (Reuters) - President Alberto Fujimori claimed a major victory against Peru's Shining Path rebels on Friday, saying police had smashed the group's military machine in Lima with the capture of three top guerrillas.

He told reporters the arrest earlier this week in Lima of Pedro Quinteros, deputy of Shining Path's de facto leader Oscar Ramirez -- alias Feliciano -- led police to the three rebels in a swoop in the capital's shantytowns at dawn on Friday.

"We had cut off Feliciano's right hand ... now we can say we have amputated his two legs," the president said during a trip to the northern town of Chiclayo.

He said police caught Shining Path's Lima military leader, Alberto Ramirez, its top operations planner, Maximo Anosa, and the chief car-bomb maker in the capital, Rodolfo Condori.

Condori was arrested in his car-repair workshop in Ate Vitarte, a shantytown renowned for guerrilla attacks. Anosa was found with a "huge amount" of car-bomb making material in Lima's largest shantytown, Villa El Salvador.

Police wounded Ramirez during his arrest in El Agustino, Fujimori said.

The captures dealt one of the severest blows in recent years to the group's military apparatus, political analysts said.

But Shining Path's strongest forces roam Peru's central jungle and highlands and it was not immediately clear how important the seized rebels were within the group, they noted.

Shining Path, virtually defeated since the 1992 capture of its leader Abimael Guzman, has slowly reorganized as the hardliner Feliciano tightened his control over its few hundred remaining armed members around the country.

Guerrilla wars have caused about 30,000 deaths and $25 billion in infrastructure damage in Peru since 1980.

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