The deadly attack on the remote region of Peru known for coca production comes less than two weeks before the presidential runoff.
At least 14 people, including two children, have been killed in a remote region of Peru known for coca production, the army said Monday, less than two weeks before voters went to the polls for a second round. presidential.
Peruvian police chief Cesar Cervantes told local television channel N that at least 18 people were killed, while the military said in a statement that there were 14 victims.
“Strongly condemns the killings of these 14 people,” said interim Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti he tweeted on Monday, saying he had ordered army and police patrols in the area “so that this terrorist act would not go unpunished.”
The killings took place in a community in Vizcatan de Ene, located in an area of the Peruvian Amazon that authorities believe is being used as a hideout by the remnants of the Shining Path movement that the government fought in the 1980s. and ninety.
According to authorities, the mountainous region of the Apurimac, Ene y Mantaro River Valley (VRAEM) is where 75% of cocaine is produced in the South American country. Police accuse Shining Path of acting as a “bodyguard” for drug traffickers.
“There are likely to be more deaths,” Cervantes told RPP radio on Monday.
The military accused Shining Path of being responsible for the killings, which it described as “an act of genocide.” But his statement also assured Peruvians “a safe electoral process.”
The United Nations condemned the “murder” and expressed its solidarity with the victims and their families.
“As part of the ongoing electoral process, we call on all actors to act responsibly, avoiding hate speech that increases tensions,” the UN office in Lima said in a statement.
Peru is scheduled to hold elections in less than two weeks, and will face left-wing leader Pedro Castillo with right-wing Keiko Fujimori.
Castillo has gained ground in Fujimori ahead of the June 6 vote, gaining 44.8% support in a poll released Sunday by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP), compared to Fujimori’s 34.4% .
But many Peruvians expressed it frustration and fatigue before the first round of voting – which saw Castillo and Fujimori gain 19% and 13% support, respectively – as the country has experienced years of political instability.
Peru has been too hit hard by COVID-19 and a coronavirus-related economic recession.
On Saturday, protesters marched on Lima and other major cities holding banners and shouting the slogan, “Fujimori never again.”
Fujimori’s father, former President Alberto Fujimori, is in jail on corruption charges.