Six soldiers drowned while trying to swim across a river in the Andes to reach a town where violent protesters are demanding the resignation of Peru’s president. (Representation image) Twitter/@XimenaBorrazas

Six soldiers of the Peruvian Army lost their lives while attempting to cross a river last weekend.

They tried to escape the latest in a string of anti-government demonstrations that have devastated the nation for the past three months, according to officials.

The soldiers vanished last Sunday after trying to cross a river in the southern Puno area, which is the scene of many of the loudest demonstrations demanding the release of imprisoned former President Pedro Castillo and the resignation of his successor, Dina Boluarte.

According to officials, protesters attacked the troops as they attempted to increase regional security operations.

They then chose to take "an alternative route" by crossing a river, but the current carried them away, the military said in a statement on Sunday, reports Reuters.

The troops, who are stationed in the nearby town of Ilave, attempted to cross the river using a bridge at first, but it was blocked by demonstrators, forcing the soldiers to swim across in nearly freezing conditions.

The ministry attributed a portion of the fatalities to the demonstrators' "hostile attitude" in blocking the bridge, reports AP News.

In a tweet on Monday, the nation's human rights watchdog demanded that the Army conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal event, Reuters reported.

Since Castillo was removed, Peru has struggled to put an end to the protracted protest movement, which has resulted in several fatalities, including in Puno.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.