At Least 70 Reported Killed as Guerrillas, Troops Clash in Peru

From Reuters

At least 70 people, including 64 leftist guerrillas, were killed Friday when army troops fought a fierce battle with rebels in one of Peru's richest farming regions, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

"We are confirming full reports but so far there are about 70 killed including 64 guerrillas," the spokesman said.

He listed six soldiers and an officer among the army casualties.

Initial press reports said army troops attacked a large group of guerrillas belonging to the Marxist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement in the Los Molinos district, about 66 miles from the city of Huancayo.

Central Huancayo province is popularly known as Peru's breadbasket.

The Marxist guerrillas and Peru's largest guerrilla movement, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), a Maoist organization, have been stepping up attacks in Huancayo in recent weeks.

The battle of Los Molinos would be one of the bloodiest in Peru's political violence, which has claimed more than 14,000 lives since 1980.

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