LIMA - Peru's sole natural gas pipeline was left without maintenance services on Saturday after Shining Path rebels destroyed on the ground three helicopters belonging to the company that runs the pipeline.

The aircraft were used by the company Transportadora de Gas del Peru, or TGP, to dispatch maintenance workers along the pipeline in the country's southern jungles.

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"This most recent incident, on top of causing the total suspension of maintenance activities in the conflict zone, makes it impossible for us to respond to any emergency situation or incident that could affect transport," TGP said in a statement.

"We trust that the state will provide the resources and take the steps necessary to reestablish security in the area," it said.

The Shining Path, or Sendero Luminoso in Spanish, started a war to overthrow the state in 1980, and some 70,000 people were killed in the conflict.

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