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Peru's Shining Path Rebels Burn 3 Helicopters

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PERU SHINING PATH
This photo taken on Dec. 2, 2011, and released by IDL Reporteros, a Peruvian Website of Investigative Journalism, allegedly shows Jose Flores Hala, aka "Comrade Artemio", top left, one of the top leaders in activity of Peru's guerilla group Shining Path, giving instructions to his troops before an interview with IDL Reporteros at an unknown location of the Huallaga valley in Peru's Amazon region. (AP Photo/IDL Reporteros) | AP

LIMA, Peru — Marxist Shining Path rebels have burned three helicopters that were being used by an international gas pipeline consortium at a jungle airstrip in Peru on Saturday, the country's military announced.

The attack came as U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was visiting Peru, though there was no immediate indication it was related.

The military Joint Command spokesman, Col. Alejandro Lujan, said no one was injured or kidnapped in the attack well before dawn in the town of Kiteni in south-Central Peru. He said troops had been sent to the airstrip, which is normally guarded by private security.

The helicopters were owned by local companies and had been contracted by the consortium known as Transportadora de Gas del Peru, made up of Argentine, U.S. Algerian, Korean, French and Belgian companies.

Kiteni Mayor Hugo Chavez said the airport "is almost a kilometer (about half a mile) away from the center of the town and there has never before been an attack of that type in the area."

The original Shining Path largely disappeared after police caught its messianic founder Abimael Guzman in 1992, but small remnants have been staging a comeback in recent years.

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