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Peru: APRA calls for minister to resign, after ‘failed’ military operation

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APRA congressional representatives have stated they plan on formally requesting the resignation of Minister of Defense Pedro Cateriano, after his role in a military operation that resulted in the death of a 9-year-old girl.

APRA congressman Mauricio Mulder said the political party would ask for Cateriano’s resignation on Monday.

“Either the minister of defense resigns, or we will have to go into a political debate in which he will have to submit his resignation letter,” Mulder was quoted as saying by El Comercio.

Mulder’s comments come after the Peruvian government came under heavy criticism for a military operation in which three children were allegedly rescued from a Shining Path terrorist camp, in the jungle area known as the VRAEM.

Days after the announcement, local media started to report that an 8-year-old girl had been accidentally killed by a stray bullet during the operation.

Minister of Interior Pedraza said the operation had been a “failure”, but said he supported Cateriano.

“It is irrelevant to know who is responsible, if it was the defense minister or the minister of interior,” Pedraza said according to El Comercio.

“Intelligence work was carried out, and there was no reports of a girl. After the operation the girl was not found, and we only found out afterwards through the press, a day after.”

>On Thursday, Cateriano >denied that the government had covered up the girl’s death, and said the government had not received information regarding the incident at the time the announcement was made.

During the press conference Minister Pedraza said he had only learned of the incident on Sunday night, after hearing Mayor Aparicio’s statements.

Cateriano said the armed forces had found the three children, and their mother, during the capture of ‘Comrade Amalia’, “who is a confessed and convicted terrorist.”

Meanwhile, Mulder has argued the government used the rescue as political propaganda.

“This means they are not interested in defeating the Shining Path. What interests them using these children for political propaganda,” Mulder said.

“This goal is poorly designed.”

APRA representatives have stated they plan on formally requesting the resignation of Minister of Defense Pedro Cateriano, after his role a military operation that resulted in the death of a 9-year-old girl.

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