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Peru captures rebel leader. Is this the end of the Shining Path?

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IDL Reporteros/REUTERS

(Read caption) "Comrade Artemio," one of the top leaders of Peru's Shining Path guerrilla group, is seen at a camp in Huallaga valley in the Amazon jungle of Peru in this file photo taken on December 2, 2011. Artemio, the nom de guerre of Florindo Eleuterio Flores, was captured by security forces after being shot in a remote jungle rife with drug trafficking, Peru's President Ollanta Humala said on Sunday.

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• A version of this post ran on the author's site, Insightcrime.com. The views expressed are the author's own.

The capture of “Comrade Artemio,” one of the last of the Shining Path rebels’ old guard to remain at large, is a security success for Peru’s government, but is unlikely to affect the country’s burgeoning drug trade.

On Thursday, the news emerged that Artemio, whose real name is Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, had been seriously wounded in the early hours of the morning. Some reports (most links are in Spanish) said he was shot by his own bodyguards, who were working for the authorities, though others said he was hit in a confrontation with the police.

He was found on Sunday morning by a military patrol, lying gravely wounded in a hut near the river Misholla, in Tocache province, San Martin region. Later that day he was flown by military helicopter to Lima. As the veteran guerrilla fighter was carried on a stretcher into a police hospital, his hands heavily bandaged, he shouted some unintelligible words and raised a fist to the watching press.

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