Huanuco gunfight leaves three police wounded, three missing

A gunfight between Peruvian National Police officers and cattle rustlers in the Huánuco region left three officers injured and three more missing yesterday morning.

The six policemen were dispatched to investigate reports of livestock theft in the community of Palca in the Lauricocha province, where locals had reported a series of thefts.

They were ambushed at around 5am by a gang of criminals armed with shotguns and other firearms, as reported by the wounded officers.

Three officers have been transferred to Huánuco city hospital suffering from gunshot wounds, while the remaining three remain unaccounted for and are officially listed as “disappeared”.

The regional police force has responded by sending in further operatives, backed up by police aircraft in an attempt to locate the missing officers and arrest their attackers.

Grenade and cannabis plantation found in Lima avenue

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A fragmentation grenade and more than 200 cannabis plants have been found in an avenue in Lima’s La Victoria region.

Municipal gardeners came across the grenade at about 10am, while tending the plants in the central reservation of San Eugenio Avenue. They immediately alerted police, who called specialist officers from the EDEX “bomb squad” division to render the weapon safe and remove it.

A few meters away, the gardeners then came across a large number of cannabis plants, growing hidden amongst the trees between the carriageways of the avenue and opposite the San Norberto high school. A total of over 200 plants were found and destroyed.

Police sources state that an investigation is underway to find those responsible.

La Victoria is a central district of Lima, and the terminal for many buses to and from the capital. However, many parts of the large district are generally poorly policed and unsafe for foreigners.

“Robocops” to hit the streets of Peru

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At yesterday’s police operation to retake the Santa Anita market in Lima, a number of officers were seen wearing suits of black plastic armor, much to the surprise of commentators and protesters.

Dubbed “robocops” by the press, these are members of the 34th Command or Special Services Unit, and after the new uniform’s successful trial it will be deployed to some 2,000 more officers around the country.

According to police sources, the plastic armor provides protections against sticks, stones and other blunt instruments, to the extent that officers sometimes are unaware of impacts.

As Lima police General Octavio Salazar puts it, “you can kick a policeman or throw a stone at him, with this new equipment he simply will not feel it.”

Salazar remarked that this will allow police to respond peacefully to situations that in the past would have called for the use of force to protect officers.

Bus crash outside Lima leaves one dead, 22 injured

A crash between a local bus and a heavy truck left one passenger dead and 22 wounded in Chaclacayo yesterday. The public transport vehicle was headed from the popular weekend destination of Chosica to Lima, about 30km away, when it struck a goods vehicle that suddenly pulled out of a fuel station.

A 19-year-old woman was killed instantly, and some other passengers were left trapped in the wreckage. It took firefighters from Chosica, Chaclacayo and Lima some hours to free them and transport them to clinics and the local hospital.

They are being treated under the compulsory accident insurance that both vehicles carried.

Amnesty International: Fujimori cannot be trusted

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Peru’s Amnesty International Director Ismael Vega has said that it is hard to believe that fugitive ex-President Alberto Fujimori will abide by the decision of the Chilean courts if they rule in favor of his extradition to Peru, given his track record of dishonesty.

“You cannot believe Fujimori. He can say that he will respect the judgment and that he has no plans to try to escape, but his track record shows that he is not necessarily going to keep to his word,” he said in an interview on Ideeleradio.

For that reason, the Amnesty International official said that measures must be taken to prevent any possible escape by the former head of state, who spent 5 years after leaving office in voluntary exile in Japan – where, as a Japanese citizen, he was immune to extradition proceedings.

Vega stated on Radio San Borja that “the track record that Fujimori has in terms of keeping to his declarations, of justice and of respect for the law goes totally against his recent statements. He is a person characterized by a lack of respect for the rules”.

He added that Fujimori has an “irresistible compulsion to distort reality and try to change the facts,” as the ex-president claims that the corruption and crimes against humanity of which he stands accused were the result of a cooperation between his intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos and the military command, without his having any say in the matters.

Death of Peruvian band may have been murder

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Victor Valladares, the press liaison for Peruvian music group Néctar, all of whose members were killed yesterday morning in a road accident in Buenos Aires, has claimed that the deaths could be the work of an organized crime syndicate that extorts protection money from singers and bands.

He added that Juan Murillo, the band’s manager and another of the crash’s victims, had admitted to him that a group of Peruvians, Colombians and Brazilians were demanding money in exchange for allowing bands to perform in Argentina.

Valladares stated that Murillo, who had been driving the vehicle, had not consumed alcohol – despite preliminary reports that this was the cause of the crash.

“Juan Murillo took musicians on tour in Argentina, and 20 days ago he was in Peru. He is from Trujillo [Northern Peru]. He talked with us and explained that there is a mafia of Peruvians, Colombians and Brazilians in Argentina, who demanded 25% of the gate money for any dance with Peruvian performers,” he stated.

Talking to América Televisión he called on the Peruvian Government to expedite the return of the musicians’ remains for forensic testing. “We are sure that this was not an accident, this was a murder,” he said.

He added that he would call for an exhaustive investigation into the deaths of the 13 Peruvians, including band members and friends of the popular techno-tropical group.

See also:
Techno group Néctar wiped out in Argentina

Problems of youth gangs

“Anyone under 18 is free to commit murder” 

The controversial proposal by Surquillo mayor Gustavo Sierra to punish the parents of children involved in gang activity has met with the approval of Virginia Borra, Minister for Woman and Social Development.

“We need some legal mechanism to stop this. We either have to establish an age limit for punishing minors, at 16, say, or we have to punish their parents who fail to bring them up well and protect them from [gangs],” she said on Saturday.

She added that the Cabinet is evaluating a proposal to reduce the age limit for punishing young people who commit offences, from 18 to 16. “We have yet to reach a decision, but we have discussed the issue and evaluated possibilities,” she said in an interview with RPP radio.

She pointed out that a boy of 17 years and 10 months should not be free to commit murder, as is currently the case. “Someone has to be made responsible for these acts,” she stressed.