Peru's Shining Path defeated, rebel leader admits

Former Shining Path leader, Abimael Guzman, in a high security jail in Lima, 08/10/1992 The arrest of Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman in 1992 hastened the group's demise

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Peru's Shining Path rebel movement has been defeated, one of the group's few active remaining leaders has admitted.

Comrade Artemio, who heads a group in northern Peru, said they were ready to talk to the government about ending their armed rebellion.

It is not known if other rebels would be prepared to give up their arms.

An estimated 70,000 people died in the conflict with the Shining Path, which was at the height of its powers in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Speaking to reporters from his jungle hideout, Comrade Artemio said the Shining Path had been defeated.

"I am not going to deny that," he said.

He said his group was prepared for dialogue with the authorities, but added that they would only surrender their weapons if the government were serious about wanting to end the armed conflict.

The Shining Path guerrillas launched their armed struggle in 1980 to remove what they saw as Peru's bourgeois democracy.

The rebels' avowed aim was to establish a communist government, of Maoist inspiration.

The arrest of Shining Path founder and leader Abimael Guzman, in 1992, and a fierce campaign during the government of President Alberto Fujimori all but dismantled the organisation.

Remnants of the guerrilla group are still active in Peru's cocaine-producing regions, engaging in sporadic clashes with police and soldiers.

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