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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 November, 2003, 05:54 GMT
Toledo 'sorry' for Peru killings
By Daniel Schweimler
BBC, London

Peruvian president
President Toledo was not in office then
The president of Peru has apologised on behalf of the state for the political violence that tore the country apart between 1980 and 2000.

In an address to the nation, Alejandro Toledo said millions of dollars would be spent on the areas most affected.

Investigators have said at least 40,000 and possibly as many as 60,000 people were killed during 20 years of terror.

About three-quarters of the killings were carried out by the Maoist Shining Path and other guerrilla groups.

More than 30% of the confirmed killings were carried out by government forces.

Responsibility

"I ask for pardon," said President Toledo, "in the name of the state for all those who suffered... for all the victims of violence and terror".

He added that although his government was not in power at the time, he could not avoid responsibility for the violence.

President Toledo said his government would implement what he called a peace and development plan in the areas most severely affected by the violence, investing millions of dollars.

The plan was recommended by the Peace and Reconciliation Commission set up by his government two years ago to look into the killings.

Slow recovery

The commission based its conclusions on interviews with 18,000 witnesses.

Shining Path began its insurgency among Peru's indigenous communities which live in remote rural areas but later spread its campaign to the towns and cities.

Head of the Shining Path rebel movement Abimael Guzman
Shining Path leader Guzman is in jail
The security forces responded, often using illegal means.

The then President, Alberto Fujimori imposed martial law in 1992 and finally crushed the rebels, capturing the group's founder, Abimael Guzman.

But much of Peru was devastated by the violence and has been slow to recover.

President Toledo's words will be very welcome but Peruvians will also want to see his promises put into action.


SEE ALSO:
Peru strife killed 69,000
28 Aug 03  |  Americas
Retrial for Peru Shining Path rebel
21 Nov 02  |  Americas
Analysis: Peru's Shining Path
11 Jun 03  |  Americas
Peru's violent past
21 Mar 02  |  Americas
Analysis: Peru confronts the past
10 Apr 02  |  Americas


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