Mon Feb 20, 10:18 PM ET
LIMA, Peru - A Shining Path guerrilla commander believed responsible for an ambush that killed eight policemen in December has died in a shootout with authorities in Peru’s jungle, police said Monday.
Hector Aponte was killed Sunday in a jungle hamlet in the Huallaga Valley, Police Gen. Luis Montoya told Canal N television. The valley is a prime coca-producing region where remnants of the guerrilla group protect cocaine traffickers.
Montoya said two other guerrillas were captured and that police seized "an abundance of armaments and printed material of the guerrilla group."
Aponte was a top commander under Comrade Artemio, one of the last original Shining Path leaders still at large.
Two years ago, Artemio announced a renewal of "armed activity," including spreading propaganda, sabotage and assassinations, after President Alejandro Toledo’s government refused to negotiate an amnesty for the rebels.
Eight police were killed by about 20 guerrillas in December on an isolated jungle highway near the town of Aucayacu, 220 miles northeast of Lima.
The Shining Path launched a campaign of car bombings, political assassinations and massacres in 1980, but its activity dropped sharply after the 1992 capture of its founder, Abimael Guzman.