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Peru ministers respond to controversy over death of 8-year-old

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Minister of Defense Pedro Cateriano and Minister of Interior Wilfredo Pedraza held a joint press conference on Thursday, after controversy over the death of an 8-year-old girl, during a military operation in Junín last Saturday.

Earlier in the week the government announced a military operation had rescued three children from the jungle area known as the VRAEM. The children, the government said, were being trained by Shining Path remnants.

>However, after the central government’s announcement, Santo Domingo de Acombamba’s mayor, Jorge Aparicio, said an >8-year-old girl had been killed during the operation, and cast doubts over the children’s alleged terrorist links.

On Thursday, Cateriano denied that the government had concealed the girl’s death, and said the government had not received information regarding the incident at the time the announcement was made, El Comercio reported.

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.”

"We regret the death of any person, and in this case of a defenseless child. But until these people arrived in Lima, there were no reports of her death or disappearance,” Cateriano was quoted as saying by El Comercio.

“[…] We condemn these events, which have occurred due to insane terrorists who are using women and children, this is a democratic government that acts respecting the constitution and the law,” Cateriano added.

Peru’s ministers of defense and interior held a joint press conference, after controversy over the death of an 8-year-old girl, during a military operation in Junín last Saturday.

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