Four soldiers and two members of the Shining Path guerrilla group were killed Monday in a clash in Peru’s largest coca-growing area, the army said in a statement.
The clashes broke out at dawn when the soldiers came under attack while on patrol in the south-central Andes, a region where the armed forces have fought drug gangs and remnants of the Shining Path group for two decades.
The soldiers carried out “territorial control” operations, according to the statement, adding that three other officers were injured and taken to hospital.
Peru is the world’s second largest producer of cocaine after Colombia.
In 2022, some 95,000 hectares of coca leaf, the raw material for the drug, were planted, according to monitoring data from the Peruvian authorities.
Shining Path is a Maoist rebel group that emerged in the 1980s with the goal of overthrowing the Government of Peru. Today, almost all of its leaders are dead or imprisoned, and only a few hundred members operate in remote areas.
Two decades of clashes between the Army and the guerrillas left some 70,000 dead, according to the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.