Dec. 8 - One of the last remaining leaders of the Shining Path guerrilla movement in Peru admits defeat in a rare interview and calls for a truce with the Peruvian government. Nick Rowlands reports.
Members of Peru's Maoist Shining Path militants on patrol in the jungle. During a rare interview, Shining Path leader Jose Flores -- a man with a five-million-dollar U.S. bounty on his head -- said armed rebellion had failed. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) JOSE FLORES, ALSO KNOWN AS "ARTEMIO", SAYING: "The political objective remains the same, although today, in practice, it is not feasible. Secondly, we maintain an armed force to guarantee our position with regards to our imprisoned comrades. I think it's clear we don't have the slightest intention to keep brandishing the weapons of war, but we would like to sincerely say we want a political solution." But a British journalist in Peru said the fighters he saw looked combat-ready. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DAN COLLYNS, GUARDIAN JOURNALIST, SAYING: "The group of Shining Path fighters we came across were well-trained, they were well-armed, they're in good condition, well-fed, fit. They didn't look to be in any way defeated or any kind of a rag-tag group of rebels. There was discipline." The guerilla group waged war on Peru's government during the 80's and 90's, and although most leaders have been captured and the group is no longer considered a threat, the government says it will not deal with criminals. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) PERU'S MINISTER OF JUSTICE FRANCISCO EGUIGUREN, SAYING: "It is very clear that the government will not sit down with people who continue criminal activity. On the other hand, we must take into account that a majority of the country wants an end to violence." Despite the denial, Flores claims to have had past negotiations with the government, under a former president. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.