Peru police 'kill leading rebel'
The Peruvian government says police have killed an important leader of the still-active Shining Path guerrillas.
Epifanio Espiritu Acosta, who was second-in-command of one of the two remaining Shining Path groups, was killed in Aucayacu, in central Peru.
Another eight guerrillas were arrested in the operation, police said.
The move comes at a time of increased violence against the security forces by the remnants of the group, who are now involved in drug trafficking.
Peru is the world's second largest producer of cocaine.
The Peruvian police say there are two remaining groups of Shining Path guerrillas in the country's central jungle region, led by two leaders known as Artemio and Alipio.
The man killed in the police operation, Acosta - known as JL - was Artemio's second-in-command.
Peru's Interior Minister, Luis Alva Castro, said they are now "very close to Artemio [and] getting closer".
The Maoist Shining Path staged a bloody insurgency in the last two decades in which almost 70,000 people were killed in massacres, bomb attacks and state reprisals.
Now the group's leadership are either dead or in prison, and only a few hundred guerrillas remain.
But the last month has seen an increase in violence, with 500 police officers killed in two ambushes in coca-growing regions where the guerrillas protect drug traffickers.
The Peruvian government has demanded more resources to confront the renewed threat.
Meanwhile, Peru's cocaine production has grown by almost 10% in the last year. ( BBC )