They were part of a patrol ambushed by protesters in the Puno region. Fleeing down the river turned out to be a death trap.
The Peruvian Ministry of Defense (Mindef) raised to two the military dead and another four missing when they tried to cross a river in the southern Andean region of Puno, the epicenter of the anti-government demonstrations that take place in the Andean country.
An official statement on Monday “deeply” regretted the death of Peruvian Army corporals Franz Canazas Cahuaya and Alex Quispe Serrano, as well as the disappearance of the other four soldiers in the Ilave River, and expressed “absolute solidarity with their families.”
It added that the search work “will be carried out uninterruptedly and will not end until all the missing soldiers are found” and that “an exhaustive investigation has been opened to clarify the facts, and determine, if applicable, the responsibilities to which that there was room”.
A mother hugs her son after being rescued from the river. Photo: EFE
The Ministry of Defense also strongly condemned the hostile attitude exercised against the Army patrol of which the aforementioned soldiers were a part by violent activists who prevented their passage.
He assured that this forced the military “to take an alternate route that crossed the river in order to avoid a confrontation with said radical elements.”
This Sunday, the Joint Command of the Armed Forces indicated that the soldiers were swept away by the waters of the Ilave River when they were fleeing from a group of anti-government protesters.
swept away by the current
The military were part of a patrol that was moving from the town of Ilave to Juli, where protesters burned a police station on Saturday, when they were intercepted by a group of people who prevented their passage, according to the Joint Command.
Given this situation, a statement indicated, they decided to cross the Ilave River to avoid confrontation, but “due to the difficulties, the flow of the river and the attack with stones and other blunt objects,” six members of the patrol were swept away by the current. .
Among the missing are two other corporals and two soldiers, while another five soldiers were admitted to the Ilave hospital for hypothermia, in stable conditions.
Residents observe the rescue efforts. Photo: EFE
On Saturday, some 300 people attacked the Juli city police station with rocks and blunt objects for several hours, eventually setting it on fire, according to a joint statement from the Defense and Interior ministries.
As a result of the attack, 10 police officers were injured, who were evacuated by helicopter, and also seven civilians who were treated at the Rafael Ortiz Ravines hospital.
In parallel, the statement added, another group attacked the Juli military base, temporarily established in a hotel, causing bruises and cuts to ten Army personnel.
In the Puno region, roadblocks and work stoppages have been maintained since last January when its inhabitants took to the streets to demand, among other issues, the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and 18 civilians died in clashes with security forces. in the city of Juliaca.
Residents rescue soldiers from the Llave river, in Puno (Peru). Photo: EFE
Last Thursday a delegation of residents of Puno arrived in Lima to join the anti-government protests that also demand early general elections, the closure of Congress and the calling of a constituent assembly.
The Boluarte government has declared a state of emergency in Puno, where internal order control is the responsibility of the Armed Forces, with the support of the Peruvian National Police.