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Peru rebels kill 62

LIMA (Reuter) - Maoist Shining Path guerrillas killed at least 62 villagers and wounded 34 in Ashaninka Indian communities along the banks of a jungle river valley in central Peru, officials said yesterday.

Alejandro Morobeni Castro, the mayor of the jungle town of Satipo, said 50 or more guerrillas had attacked six communities along the Ene River banks in central Junin department, some 300 kms (180 miles) east of Lima. The villagers had been hacked to death with rudimentary arms like spears, machetes and axes, he said.

'The subversives pretended to be members of (anti-guerrilla) militias. They took people into a room and scolded them for not having done militia work,' Morobeni Castro said in a radio interview. 'Later they were taken out one by one and killed with machetes and axes, and some were beheaded.'

Those taken to hospital included 14 children, many of whose ears had been severed. The Ashaninka Indians have been a prime target of Shining Path in a conflict which has cost more than 27,000 lives in Peru since the guerrillas took up arms in 1980.