Peru rebels allege army offensive despite talks
March 16, 1997
Web posted at: 2:59 p.m. EST (1959 GMT)
LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- The Marxist rebel movement holding 72
VIPs claimed on Sunday the army was "engaged in a major
operation" to flush the guerrillas out of their jungle
strongholds despite talks to end the hostage siege
A senior Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) leader
told Reuters the army was deploying more than 500 soldiers to
sweep through the central jungle provinces of Oxapampa and
Chanchamayo in a bid to deactivate the group's military
The army denies there is any military operation. But local
media has reported several MRTA captures over the last two
weeks in the central jungle. And a leading Peruvian human
rights group has issued a statement alleging that the
whereabouts of four villagers in the area were still unknown
after an army operation March 9 led to the detention of 21
Reuters contributed to this report.
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