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The Armed Forces patrol was instructed by superior orders to take an alternative route, contemplating crossing the Ilave River.
The Peruvian Ministry of Defense (Mindef) confirmed on Monday the death of five soldiers who lost their lives in the Puno department while crossing a river to reach the town of Juli, where anti-government protests were taking place.
The Army soldiers were identified as Franz Canazas Cahuaya, Alex Quispe Serrano, Elvis Pari Quiso, Elías Lupaca Inquillas and Percy Castillo Pongo, Mindef reported on its official Twitter account.
The Armed Forces patrol was instructed by superior orders to take an alternative route, contemplating crossing the Ilave River to avoid confrontation with the community protesters.
The soldiers were swept away by the strong current and subsequently drowned, said the Defense Ministry, which expressed its condolences to the families of the Peruvian Army members.
Hoy colocamos nuestra bandera a media asta en señal de duelo y respeto en memoria de nuestros valerosos cabos @EjercitoPeru Franz Canazas Cahuaya, Alex Quispe Serrano, Elvis Pari Quiso y el soldado Elías Lupaca Inquillas, lamentablemente fallecidos ayer en Puno.¡Honor y gloria!��️ pic.twitter.com/cF6QuCNXWz
Today we place our flag at half-mast as a sign of mourning and respect in memory of our brave Corporals Franz Canazas Cahuaya, Alex Quispe Serrano, Elvis Pari Quiso and Private Elías Lupaca Inquillas, who sadly passed away yesterday in Puno. Honor and glory!
According to the Ministry there is still one soldier missing. Port Captaincy (Navy) personnel and Huancani community members are still searching for the body.
"The Inspection System, is conducting the corresponding investigations to determine the exact causes of the events," the Joint Command of the Armed Forces said.
The town of Juli, in the Puno region, was the scene this weekend of new anti-government protests demanding the resignation of the president-designate, Dina Boluarte. Since last January, the region has maintained road blockades and work stoppages.
This social and political crisis has been going on in the South American country since December 7 following the removal of former president Pedro Castillo. Police repression has left more than 60 dead in the context of mobilizations.