April 3, 2006

Shining Path calls for Peru election boycott

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - The Maoist Shining Path guerrilla
group distributed flyers on Monday calling for a boycott of
Peru's April 9 general election, a police official said.

The rebel group, which waged one of Latin America's
bloodiest insurgencies in the 1980s and early 1990s,
distributed hundreds of circulars calling for a boycott of the
election in Aucayacu, an area in Peru's central jungle where
drug traffickers operate, the police source said.

"Elections no, popular war yes," the special operations
official from the National Police told Reuters, paraphrasing
the flyers.

Shining Path began its "popular war" in Peru by burning
ballot boxes in the Andes in 1980 on the eve of the first
democratic elections in 12 years. The group was responsible for
some 40,000 deaths in the 1980s and 1990s as it fought to
impose communism on Peru, but its attacks dropped substantially
after the capture in 1992 of its leader, Abimael Guzman.

Shining Path remains on the U.S. government's list of
terrorist groups. Today, it has several hundred die-hard
members holed up in Andean and jungle areas. Police and drug
experts say it has linked up with what is an increasingly
lucrative drugs trade.

Peru is the world's No. 2 cocaine producer after Colombia.

In December, Shining Path killed 13 police officers in two
attacks, prompting concern about the April 9 election.

Peruvian authorities have promised extra police and army
patrols to ensure the safety of Sunday's vote.