Police rescued 10 minors who had been forcibly recruited by a guerrilla group in a conflictive region of southern Peru, President Ollanta Humala said Friday.
"Ten children have been recovered. There are no casualties. The operation was carried out with great care to avoid the spilling of blood," he told Canal N television.
The cops also captured 11 guerrillas, the president said.
A remnant of the Shining Path rebel group that operates in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE, snatches kids and tries to mould them into "little pioneers" of the movement, according to media accounts.
"They have been abducting children of the rural population for training and to cover their backs through this extortion and to assure themselves of the forced collaboration (of the residents)," Humala said of the guerrillas.
The rescue mission was carried out Thursday in the Junin region and the freed youngsters were taken to the city of Mazamari, where the president said he planned to meet with them.
The VRAE, which comprises a vast expanse of jungle across the regions of Junin, Ayacucho, Cuzco and Apurimac, is a major center of coca growing and cocaine production.
Peruvian authorities say the Shining Path units in the VRAE are working as hired guns for drug traffickers. EFE