Lima, Mar 5 (EFE).- Five Peruvian soldiers are missing after being swept away by a river, when they were fleeing from a group of anti-government protesters in the southern region of Puno (bordering Bolivia), an incident in which they also died a soldier, reported military sources.
The soldiers were part of a patrol that was moving from the town of Ilave to Juli, where the protesters burned down a police station yesterday, when they were intercepted by a violent group that prevented their passage, detailed the Joint Command of the Armed Forces.
Faced with this situation, according to the statement, the patrol decided to take an alternative route and cross the Ilave River to avoid the 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.
The deceased soldier was identified as Corporal Franz Canazas Cahuaya, while the missing are Corporal Elvis Pari Quizo, Corporal Carlos Quispe Montalico, Corporal Alez Quispe Serrano and soldiers Percy Castillo Pongo and Elías Lupaca Inquilla.
Likewise, five soldiers are hospitalized in the Ilave hospital due to hypothermia, in stable conditions.
Following his disappearance, the military authorities have begun efforts to search for missing military personnel.
Also, the Inspection System of the Armed Forces is carrying out the corresponding investigations in order to determine the exact causes of the events.
On Saturday, some 300 people attacked the police station in the neighboring city of Juli with stones and blunt objects for several hours, and finally the police establishment was set on fire with Molotov-type cocktails, 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 injuries to ten Army personnel, who have bruises and cuts to the head and arms.
The Puno region, where Juli and Ilave are located, has maintained roadblocks and work stoppages since last January, when its inhabitants took to the streets to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and a harsh repression caused the death of 18 people in the neighboring city of Juliaca.
This week a delegation of its inhabitants arrived in Lima to insist on the demand for early general elections, but a group of women with their small children loaded were repressed by the police with tear gas, which unnerved their countrymen.
The government of Dina Boluarte has declared a state of emergency in Puno, where “the control of internal order is in charge of the Armed Forces, incorporating the National Police of Peru to achieve said objective.”