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Three dead in attack ahead of Peru poll

BBC News BBC News 10/04/2016
Peruvian soldier patrol a polling station after workers of Peru"s National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) leave voting materials, in Surco: The attack targeted soldiers transporting election materials © Reuters The attack targeted soldiers transporting election materials

Suspected leftist rebels in Peru have killed three people in an attack ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

A woman sells candies in the street next to a sign of Peru"s presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, in Surco, ahead of Sunday"s presidential election, in Lima, April 9, 2016: Keiko Fujimori is the election frontrunner © Reuters Keiko Fujimori is the election frontrunner

Two soldiers and a driver died in the attack on a vehicle carrying election materials in a remote coca-growing region, the military said.

A woman sells yogurt next to a sign of Peru"s presidential candidate Veronika Mendoza in Cuzco, April 9, 2016: No candidate is expected to win an outright majority in the first round © Reuters No candidate is expected to win an outright majority in the first round

The election frontrunner is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who cracked down on the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas.

Army helicopters fly over the Vraem area: The rebels operate in the dense jungle area known as Vraem © AFP The rebels operate in the dense jungle area known as Vraem

However she is not expected to win a clear majority.

Peruvian army in the Vraem area: The Peruvian army launched several operations against the rebels last year © AFP The Peruvian army launched several operations against the rebels last year

Polls opened at 08:00 local time (13:00 GMT). Opinion polls indicate that Ms Fujimori will not obtain the 50% of votes needed to avoid a second run-off round.

Her closest challengers are centrist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and left-winger Veronika Mendoza.

Shadow of jailed ex-president cast over Peru polls

Keiko Fujimori has marketed herself as being tough on crime and is supported by some Peruvians who credit her father with defeating the rebels.

Mr Fujimori is currently serving 25 years in prison for ordering death squads to massacre civilians during his attempts to end the insurgency.

The Shining Path rebel group was largely dismantled in the 1990s after a decade-long conflict that killed about 69,000 people.

However, rebels estimated to number in the hundreds still control areas of jungle in a coca-growing region of the country and the Peruvian authorities say they have joined forces with drug gangs.

Peru is one of the biggest coca leaf and cocaine producers in the world, according to the US authorities.

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