Peru’s foreign minister quits over terrorism remarks

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Peru’s Foreign Minister Hector Bejar has resigned after allegedly claiming earlier this year that the country’s Shining Path rebel movement was established with help from the US foreign intelligence service CIA.

President Pedro Castillo accepted Bejar’s resignation, the Agencia Andina news agency reported on Tuesday.

Bejar’s remarks in February were widely rejected and led to calls for him to leave office.

The conflict between the leftist Shining Path guerrillas and security forces claimed nearly 70,000 lives in Peru between 1980 and 2000.

Splinter groups of the Shining Path organization are still active in the country’s interior.

The foreign minister’s resignation will put additional pressure on Castillo.

A former school teacher, Castillo was sworn in as president at the end of July after an extremely narrow election victory and a week-long legal dispute with the defeated right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori.

Several weeks in, the inexperienced new head of state’s government has already come under pressure. Cabinet chief Guido Bellido is currently being investigated for money laundering and for justifying terrorism.

Political turmoil has marked the past year, as the country’s Congress was locked in a bitter conflict with the government. Parliamentarians first forced then-president Martin Vizcarra out of office, and then his successor, Manuel Merino, threw in the towel after fierce protests.

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