Peru report finds police 'death squad' killed 20

In this Aug. 7, 2016 photo, a placard shows an image of Edgardo Zabarburu, one of seven Shining Path rebels at a burial service for the seven, in Lima, Peru. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

LIMA: A so-called "death squad" established within the Peruvian National Police has executed at least 20 criminals extra-judicially, amid a growing wave of insecurity in the South American country, the interior ministry found.

Earlier this month the ministry announced a probe into the alleged abuses after they surfaced in media reports.

"There are serious indications of the existence of an irregular group formed by officers and non-commissioned officers of the National Police of Peru," Ruben Vargas, deputy minister of internal order, said Monday.

Those officers "falsified intelligence information feigning confrontations in order to take out people in at least six cases," he said.

The killings were carried out for economic gain and promotions, which are generally given for capturing gang members, the report found.

Most of the killings were carried out between 2011 and 2016, with the squad leader receiving two promotions and six awards in recognition of fighting crime.

The report said at least 20 suspected criminals were executed in six different instances, across a number of towns.

Peruvian authorities reported that the squad was formed by "an officer and at least seven non-commissioned officers who intervened indiscriminately in each of these events."

Vargas did not reveal the identity of the officers involved in the "death squad," as it has been dubbed by the press.

The report will be delivered to the prosecutor's office for possible criminal proceedings, authorities said.





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