Youths “press-ganged” to serve in the army

Accusation that soldiers stormed into communities in Loreto

 Taking advantage of the remoteness of the communities of Abtao and San Lucas, in the region of Iquitos, an armed group of members of the army arrived in these villages in order to force military service on the young people of the zone.

The accusation in the case of Hamilton Acho Ahuanari is the most serious. According to his mother Leonor, her son was taken away to serve at the Pijuyal military base despite suffering from an inner ear tumour. “The soldiers threatened the parents so we wouldn’t intervene,” she said. In the village of San Lucas, at kilometre 42 of the Iquitos-Nauta road, 10 youths were also “press-ganged” according to Sandra Siquihua Sandy, who lived with one of the unwilling recruits.

Official version. The chief of the information office of the eastern military region, Army Comandante Peter Quispe Flores, assured the newspaper Pro y Contra that Acho Achuani is in a stable condition and that he will be transferred to Iquitos to determine whether he wants to continue with military service.

It is worth pointing out that the public defense office in Iquitos has registered five cases of forced recruitment so far this year, all from communities along the Iquitos-Nauta road.

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