Civil war threatens to break out between two districts in rural Puno after the recent deaths of 1o people and many more injured in the community of Chacayaje in the district of Ituata.
Hooded men entered the community and murdered their victims before escaping. According to people in Ituata, the assassins will have come from the district of Ayapata, with which they have a territorial conflict. Located on the undefined border between the two sub-administrative regions that form part of the province of Carabaya is a mine, from which locals receive some payment.
The current mayor of Ayapata is currently under investigation for organising similar attacks. He is accused of sending a gang to kidnap people in another community in Ituata and to attack government buildings in yet another.
The people of Ituata, who claim at least part of the mine’s payouts, also accuse congressman Tomás Cenzano Sierralta of involvement. He apparently has a steak in the mining company Minas de Huinchumayo, who according to those in Ituata is responsible for starting the demarcation dispute in the first place.
Roger Saya, mayor of Ituata, today pleaded with the central Government to send troops to the region. He informs that mobs from Ayapata are raiding Ituata and burning down settlements and driving people from their land.
Worried that his people will be massacred, he begged, “before this goes any further, we need the presence of the state, of the army”.
The mayor states that in the community of Winchumayo, within Ituata, three people have so far been killed and the invaders from Ayapata show no signs of stopping there.
Peru’s central Government based in Lima mostly ignores everything outside the capital. Rural communities like Ituata and Ayapata are without roads to access them, police forces or health care. Such places only pass through the minds of oficials when there exists some kind of natural resource to sell for their benefit.