The leader of Peru’s deadliest terrorist group died in prison Saturday, one day before the 29th anniversary of his capture.
Abimael Guzman, 86, the founder of Sendero Luminoso, or the Shining Path, was arrested in Lima in 1992 and convicted of being a terrorist. The former philosophy professor ordered the killing of thousands of Peruvians in order to create a Maoist revolution in the country, beginning in 1980 — the same day Peruvians went to the polls in their first democratic elections after a decade of military rule.
An estimated 69,000 people — most of them in indigenous communities in the Andes — were killed between 1980 and 2000.
From their base in the southern city of Ayacucho, Guzman led at first a rag-tag army of peasants armed with machetes. Later, the group placed car bombs throughout Lima and other large cities.