Soldiers drown while fleeing protesters in Peru

Five soldiers were found this Monday after drowning on Sunday; one is still missing

Juan Carlos CISNEROS / AFPIncident happened on the river in the region of Puno, Peru, this Sunday

Five soldiers drowned in a river and one disappeared when they tried to flee from demonstrators who attacked them with stones in the peruvian region of Puno, epicenter of the protests against the government that replaced, in December, the then president, Pedro Castillo. The Ministry of Defense reported, this Monday, the 6th, the discovery of the five members of the patrol that disappeared yesterday in the icy and torrential waters of the Ilave river, a tributary of Lake Titicaca (at 3,800 meters of altitude), on the border with Bolivia. We have already met Corporals Elvis Pari, Franz Canazas and Alex Quispe Serrano, and soldiers Elías Lupaca and Percy Castillo,” General Jhony León, commander of the Southern Military Region, told the channel. TV N, adding that the men were attacked “by the population” while crossing the river. Navy and Army brigades were looking for a sixth soldier. A video released by the Ministry of Defense shows 15 soldiers sitting in a circle and covered with blankets informing an officer about what happened in Puno. “We crossed the river (…) because we had no other way out. There were between 800 and 900 people, who surrounded us and started throwing stones at us (…) People called us corrupt and murderers”, said soldier Vilca. According to the soldier, the soldiers tried to make a human chain when they entered the river, but were swept away by the waters.”That’s when the current took us and some of the troops began to drown,” he reported.

As part of the political crisis that resulted in the fall of Castillo on December 7, 53 people, including the five soldiers in Puno, died in protests and clashes with law enforcement. According to the Ombudsman’s Office, 1,300 people were injured, almost half of them in uniform. This Sunday, the Health Network of El Collao, in Puno, reported having received five soldiers with hypothermia, who were rescued by residents while they were drowning. The military claim they were fleeing demonstrators who attacked them with slingshots and sticks during peasant protests against the government of Dina Boluarte, who replaced Pedro Castillo after he was deposed by Congress. “When they reached the river, they were pressed and stoned. We are intervening in that place without causing the greatest impact. The Armed Forces have taken control of the Puno region,” General León declared.

The patrol was heading from Ilave to the city of Juli, also in Puno, where clashes were recorded on Saturday, which left at least 16 civilians and soldiers injured, as well as a police station set on fire. On March 7th, Dina Boluarte will complete three months in power, after replacing Castillo, of whom she was deputy. Castillo was removed from the Presidency after a failed coup d’état attempt, while being investigated on suspicion of corruption. A 53-year-old rural teacher and union leader, Castillo is serving 18 months in preventive detention in Barbadillo Prison, a small detention center for former presidents, inside the headquarters of the Police Special Operations Directorate, east of Lima. Elected for a five-year term, the former president had been in office for 17 months when he was ousted. His fall triggered violent protests.

*With information from AFP

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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