Peru's president condemns 'terrorist' massacre

Peru's interim president on Tuesday condemned the deadly weekend massacre of more than a dozen Peruvians, saying there would be "no impunity" for those responsible.

Peru's justice minister has blamed the massacre on rebels associated with the Shining Path, a militant group responsible for one of Latin America's deadliest conflicts.

President Francisco Sagasti on Tuesday mourned the victims of what he called a "national tragedy," but he warned Peruvians not to let it sway the upcoming election on June 6, after pamphlets encouraging people not to vote were found at the site of the massacre.

"We have seen a cowardly terrorist group kill 16 people. Yesterday we had confirmation of 14 (deaths), but today we found another two who died as a result of this attack. Some of the dead are boys and girls, a one-year-old girl, a three-year-old boy and two adolescents. There will be no impunity."

Peru in the 1980s and 1990s endured a long-running conflict between the leftist Shining Path and government forces.

It led to the killing of nearly 70,000 people, according to official figures.

The Shining Path has largely retreated in recent years, but still has ties to drug traffickers and remains active in parts of the Peruvian jungle.

The weekend massacre took place in that region, where 75% of the country's cocaine is produced.

The attack comes two weeks before Peruvians are set to elect a new president, pitting socialist candidate Pedro Castillo against conservative Keiko Fujimori.

Fujimori supporters have sought to link Castillo to Shining Path sympathizers, but Castillo has denied those allegations and called for a thorough investigation of the killings.