Latin America & Caribbean

Three dead in attack ahead of Peru election

Peruvian soldier patrol a polling station after workers of Peru"s National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) leave voting materials, in Surco Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The attack targeted soldiers transporting election materials

Suspected leftist rebels in Peru have killed three people in an attack ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

Two soldiers and a driver died in the attack on a vehicle carrying election materials in a remote coca-growing region, the military said.

The election frontrunner is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who cracked down on the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas.

However she is not expected to win a clear majority.

Polls opened at 08:00 local time (13:00 GMT). Opinion polls indicate that Ms Fujimori will not obtain the 50% of votes needed to avoid a second run-off round.

Her closest challengers are centrist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and left-winger Veronika Mendoza.

Shadow of jailed ex-president cast over Peru polls

Keiko Fujimori has marketed herself as being tough on crime and is supported by some Peruvians who credit her father with defeating the rebels.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Keiko Fujimori is the election frontrunner
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption No candidate is expected to win an outright majority in the first round

Mr Fujimori is currently serving 25 years in prison for ordering death squads to massacre civilians during his attempts to end the insurgency.

The Shining Path rebel group was largely dismantled in the 1990s after a decade-long conflict that killed about 69,000 people.

However, rebels estimated to number in the hundreds still control areas of jungle in a coca-growing region of the country and the Peruvian authorities say they have joined forces with drug gangs.

Peru is one of the biggest coca leaf and cocaine producers in the world, according to the US authorities.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The rebels operate in the dense jungle area known as Vraem
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Peruvian army launched several operations against the rebels last year

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