Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Daily Focus: Peru’s Sendero Luminoso Reportedly Recruiting Child Soldiers to its Ranks

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In a video that surfaced in the Peruvian media on Sunday night, images emerged of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrilla group training children in military-style drills and in the handling of automatic weapons.  According to local reports, the video shows up to 17 children between 7 and 12 years old in “military formations” in a remote jungle area about 320 kilometers southeast of Lima, Peru. 

Peruvian Minister of Defense Ántero Flores Aráoz has recognized that Sendero Luminoso recruits, trains and indoctrinates children for use in armed conflict against the state.  Yehude Simon, the prime minister, has also condemned the practice saying that the practice of using children for warfare is “terrifying.”

This is not the first time that information has surfaced about Sendero Luminoso using child soldiers.  Between 1990 and 1992, reports note that the organization recruited over 150 child soldiers in the jungle regions of Ayacucho.  The children, many of whom were orphans, received military training and participated in operations aimed at punishing rural populations that resisted the guerilla group.

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