Its campaign between 1980 and 2000 left 70,000 people dead, a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission found in 2003.

'Dirty war'

Peruvian authorities say the group has largely abandoned its Maoist ideology in favour of drug-running, that its leaders had originally started to fund its operations.

Abimael Guzman, the group's founder, and much of its senior leadership, were captured and imprisoned throughout the 1990s.

The military said it killed five suspected Shining Path fighters earlier in the week after one soldier was killed while on patrol.

The military has been conducting an offensive in the Vizcatan jungle region of Peru, where 300 Shining Path fighters are believed to be.

Alberto Fujimori, the Peruvian president from 1990 to 2000, is currently on trial for human rights violations and has been accused of conducting a "dirty war" against members of the Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru armed group.