Peruvian Shining Path leader to be cremated at unknown location

Burn Guerrilla
© REUTERS / Stringer .

The body of the former leader of Peru’s leftist Shining Path guerilla group Abimael Guzman, who died in jail, will be cremated at an unknown location, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has announced.

Guzman, 86, died in the maximum security prison at the Callao naval base about two weeks ago. His health had recently been deteriorating. He was barely eating and had been treated in hospital.

His body is to be taken directly from the morgue in the port city of Callao to a crematorium within 24 hours, the authorities said, without naming the location.

Following Guzman’s death, Peru’s Congress passed a law prohibiting the transfer of bodies to relatives if the dead were convicted on treason or terrorism charges.

Guzman started out as a professor of philosophy at the University of Ayacucho in the 1960s. He later went underground and founded the Shining Path.

The Maoist group spread unrest in a bloody guerrilla war during the 1980s. But it was mostly stamped out after Guzman was arrested in Lima in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment for terrorism.

Almost 70,000 people were killed in clashes between Sendero Luminoso, as the group is known in Spanish, and state security forces between 1980 and 2000.

In contrast to many other civil wars in the region, the guerrillas were responsible for a large proportion of the deaths in the Peruvian conflict.

The remaining units of the group are mainly active in drug trafficking.

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