Security & Strategic Review - October 2022

PERU: Is the net finally closing in on SL?

Sendero Luminoso (SL), the Maoist guerrilla group which in the late 1980s terrorised much of the Peruvian countryside, has proved a tough nut to crack. Whilst it is vastly diminished from its zenith after a sustained crackdown from successive governments, SL has doggedly held on to its final remaining stronghold, the central Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro rivers valley (Vraem). According to President Pedro Castillo’s government, however, SL’s grip over the Vraem may be starting to slip. On 17 August, the military announced a major strike against SL, which had either left the group’s leader, Víctor Quispe Palomino (‘Camarada José’), wounded, or – according to then defence minister José Gavidia – dead.

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