Clashes in Peru coca eradication operation leave at least two dead

Clashes in Peru coca eradication operation leave at least two dead
  • Clock-gray 04:34
  • calendar-gray 13 April 2019

Two farmers were killed in clashes in Peru that erupted on Friday as authorities launched an operation to uproot coca plants - used to make cocaine - in a region near the border with Bolivia, a local mayor and the police said, ONArpeorts quoting Reuters.

A third person was in critical condition and had been taken to a local hospital, said Roger Larico, the mayor of the district of San Gaban in the region of Puno.

The eradication team - 158 civilian workers and 72 police officers - had arrived to San Gaban before dawn to destroy illegal coca farms in the coming days, but were attacked by people wielding machetes and sticks as they sat up their camp, the Peruvian National Police said in a statement.

But Larico said witnesses told him that the police had fired live bullets recklessly.

“They were shooting right and left. That’s why we have this bloodshed,” Larico told Reuters by phone.

The deaths are under investigation, said Victor Rucoba, the head of the government’s eradication agency.

“It’s very likely that to protect their lives and the lives of unarmed civilians, police had to increase the use of force,” he added in comments broadcast on local TV channel Canal N.

Faiq Mahmudov

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