Two leaders of the Maoist guerilla group Shining Path
(Sendero Luminoso) were killed in a firefight in southern Peru's
heavy jungle, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala announced Monday.
Three members of the armed group were slain in a battle that ensued when they encountered Peruvian soldiers Sunday night near Llochegua. The dead included Orlando Borda Casafranca, alias Alipio, and Martin Quispe Palomino, alias Gabriel, considered military commanders of the largest remaining Shining Path splinter.
An estimated 70,000 people have died since 1980 in the conflict between the Peruvian state and the Marxist militants.
Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman, 79, is serving a life prison sentence. The movement fell apart after his 1992 capture, but small guerilla groups remain active in Peru's coca-producing jungles, where they are believed to provide protection for drug traffickers.
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