Allegations of paramilitary spy service “foolish”

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Dissident congressman Carlos Bruce

Prime Minister Jorge Del Castillo yesterday called rumors of secret paramilitary or intelligence groups to attack dissidents “foolish”. Government sources suspect the rumors to have been started by renegade congressman Carlos Bruce.

Del Castillo categorically denied that the government has created a secret intelligence system parallel to the official National Intelligence Council (CNI), and supposedly charged with making a “smokescreen” and harassing those who oppose the President’s APRA party regime, as Bruce alleged.

“It’s nonsense, who would dream up something like that,” said the premier with obvious annoyance, adding that what Bruce had claimed had no basis in reality and that the congressman was simply obsessed with attacking the government. “This is not the constructive stance that Peru needs,” said Del Castillo, speaking to press at the inauguration of a session on “Population, Investment and Development in Public Services”.

But the allegations of a paramilitary or spy service like the one under Alan García’s first government put forward by Bruce, who was minister for homes under the last president, seemed to be backed up by information revealed in previous days and by several analysts, as well as by the reappearance of ex-APRA leadership member Agustín Mantilla offering consultation to the interior ministry.

Congressional Chairperson Mercedes Cabanillas also denied the existence of a shadow spy group, named by Bruce the “SIN chicha” in a reference to the powerful organization of former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, branding his statements mere speculation. “I have no knowledge of it, but it would be very serious if it did happen,” she commented.

The allegations are made all the more believable by the disappearance of a large quantity of intelligence equipment at the time of the fall of the Fujimori regime in 2000, which would make possible operations such as phone tapping. According to La República columnist Mirko Lauer, there may be at least two secret services not allied to the official intelligence council, both working around the clock.

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