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Peru's Shining Path rebel group leader dies at 86: What you need to know


Picture Courtesy: Getty

The founder and leader of Peru's Shining Path rebel group, Abimael Guzmán has died at the age of 86. He had been serving a life sentence for terrorism and treason since 1992.

Abimael Guzmán had been dealing with some health conditions lately and was transferred from a maximum-security prison to a hospital in July.


The decade-long conflict between the Maoist guerrilla group and the Peruvian state led to the death or disappearance of about 70,000 people. Later Guzmán was arrested, however many of his allies are still active.

History of Abimael Guzmán:


Abimael Guzmán was born in 1934 to a wealthy merchant. His mother died when he was young. In 1962, he worked as a professor of philosophy at San Cristóbal of Huamanga National University in the central city of Ayacucho.

In the 1960s, he founded the Shining Path rebel group. In the 1980s the group waged a bloody insurgency against the Peruvian government. During that time, the Peruvian government was almost brought to its knees.


In the 1980s, when the Peruvian military decided to hold elections, the Shining group decided to boycott and disrupt the elections as they were in favor of establishing a communist state. The group was involved in multiple assassinations and car bombings, which led to the creation of fear among the people.

The insurgency ended in 1992 when the government arrested Abimael Guzmán above a dance studio in Lima. After a three-day trial, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Guzmán spent his remaining years in solitary confinement at a naval prison in El Callao, west of Lima. He married his fellow Shining Path guerrilla Elena Iparraguirre behind bars in 2010.

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