A soldier was wounded in a machine-gun attack on the army's Villa Aurora counterinsurgency base in Ayacucho, a region in southern Peru, the Armed Forces Joint Command said.

Staff Sgt. Jose Coronel was hit in the left leg around 12:30 a.m. Saturday and transported to a field hospital in Chungi district, where he was treated and stabilized.

"The Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers Special Command (Vraem) will intensify operations in the zone in an effort to find and capture the criminal terrorists" behind the attack, the Armed Forces Joint Command said.

Last Wednesday, the government extended the state of emergency covering different towns in the regions of Ayacucho, Cuzco, Huancavelica and Junin for 60 days.

The Shining Path guerrilla group's remnants operate in these regions in central and southwestern Peru.

Drug traffickers and Shining Path guerrillas in Peru's coca-growing and transit regions often stage attacks on the security forces.

The rebels have joined forces with drug cartels and producers of illegal coca, the raw material for cocaine, officials say.

The government has made the elimination of the Shining Path's remnants a priority.

The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.

A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group's 1980 uprising.

The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.

Peru is the world's second-largest cocaine producer, with potential estimated output of the illegal drug at about 300 metric tons. EFE