Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Peru: Disappeared in Canayre?

Yesterday, La Republica reported that a military operation in the region of Canayre, Ayacucho, caused villagers to flee from their homes. The area is often known as VRAE, which stands for Valle de los rios Apurimac y Ene, Valley of the Rivers Apurimac and Ene, and it's the stronghold of the remnants of the Shining Path. Local people from the small villages of Jesus de Belen and Nueva Esperanza complained that the armed forces arrived in helicopter, firing shots, burning houses, and treating everyone as if they were senderistas. Terrified, they fled. The military chief, General Raymundo Flores Cardenas, has advised them that not is not the time to return.

The same article also claims that a total of 11 villagers were reported missing at this time.

Operación militar en el VRAE obliga a pobladores a abandonar comunidades (La Republica)

Today, Peru21 takes an even starker tone:
Extrajudicial execution, murder and forced disappearance. This are the crimes which members of the military base at Canayre, in Ayacucho, are alleged to have committed against 11 citizens from the community of Río Pichis, in the district of Ayahuanco, in the court of operations which they are carrying out to eliminate the remnants of Shining Path in the zone of Vizcatán, in the VRAE.
Denuncian a las Fuerzas Armadas por nuevas desapariciones (Peru21)

The Minister of Defence Ántero Flores-Aráoz, (who I mentioned earlier here), has stated that none of the missing people are being held by the Armed Forces. Moreover, he accuses those denouncing the disappearances in no uncertain terms of being involved in the drugs trade and attempting to prevent the military from opposing terrorism.

Descartan que las Fuerzas Armadas esten detras de desapariciones denunciadas

All I can say is, will they never learn? The TRC report found the armed forces reponsible for nearly half of deaths and disappearances during the main period of conflict and still, they not only drive peasants from their villages, but also act all astonished and self-righteous when questioned about it. The monthly newsletter from the Peru Support Group that I received this morning asked, after a couple of positive examples, whether impunity was 'over' in Peru. Not quite, I suspect.

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