LIMA - The most important leader of Peru's leftist Shining Path insurgency has been found dead by security forces after being shot in a remote jungle rife with drug trafficking, President Ollanta Humala said on Sunday in his first major victory against what remains of the rebel group.
Artemio, the nom de guerre of Florindo Eleuterio Flores, headed a remnant group of guerrillas that went into the cocaine trade after the founders of the Maoist rebels were imprisoned during a bloody war against the state in the 1990s. Peru is the world's top grower of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.
Peruvian anti-drug police had tried for years to arrest Artemio and the United States two years ago had offered a multimillion dollar reward for information leading to his capture.
Humala, who fought against the Shining Path when he was a military officer in the 1990s, has vowed to step up efforts to catch what the government calls "narco-terrorists." His predecessor, former President Alan Garcia, failed in his attempt to stamp out several hundred holdout rebels who have yet to surrender their arms.