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Prison Breakout in Peru

On March 27, 1993, some 70 prisoners from the Cuzco jail in the Southern Andes of Peru escaped after at least 20 presumed members of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) destroyed a back wall by exploding a vehicle loaded with explosives, according to a journalistic source.

A journalist from Cuzco, 360 miles southeast of Lima, said that initially there were five reported dead, including one policeman, and most of the prisoners who escaped in the confusion were members of the PCP.

The report stated that during the moments following the sunday visit at the jail, the insurgents exploded a pickup truck loaded with approximately 100 kilograms of dynamite, followed immediately by strong gunfire.

From outside the jail, the guerrillas protected the exit of the prisoners by firing at guards. It is presumed that the prisoners also fired some weapons to open their way, said an informant. A Cuzco police chief, who asked not to be identified, said that there is evidence that the prisoners used vehicles and even horses to get away from the jail that was considered high security.

PLN has reported the barbaric conditions of Peruvian political prisoners and POWs [PLN, Vol. 4, no. 4] in the aftermath of the May, 1992, prison massacre in Canto Grande. After the massacre the Peruvian government has tried to weaken the prisoners' resistance by dispersing them in smaller groups to remote areas of the country. This government strategy obviously has its drawbacks. Once out of Lima, where the government is still comparatively strong, it is easier for the PCP to rescue its members. The greatest danger is that as the government finds itself weakened even further they may try to kill all the POW's in their custody.

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