Peruvian authorities have decided to cremate the body of guerrilla leader Abimael Guzmán, who died earlier this month, and to scatter his ashes at an undisclosed location.

This ends a week-long debate about what to do with the body of the founder of the Shining Path terror group, which was responsible for an estimated 70,000 deaths in the Latin American country in the 1980s and 1990s.

Guzmán died on September 11 at the age of 86 in the high-security prison at the Peruvian naval base of Callao, but the government did not know what to do with his body afterwards.

Guzmán's relatives wanted to cremate him and keep the ashes, while authorities wanted to scatter his ashes at an undisclosed location to prevent a memorial site for supporters.

A new law passed on September 16 makes that possible for the authorities.

The law allows authorities to determine what may be done with the ashes of persons convicted of terrorism.

In a statement, the Peruvian attorney general said that Guzmán will be cremated within 24 hours.

Guzmán has always denied involvement in the attack

Guzmán worked as a professor of philosophy at the University of Ayacucho in the 1960s.

Later he went underground and founded the rebel organization Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path).

In 1992, he was arrested in Lima and sentenced to life imprisonment for a bloody bomb attack in the Peruvian capital that left 25 dead and 155 injured.

The rebel leader has always denied being responsible for the attack, but was sentenced again to life in prison in September 2018.

Between 1980 and 2000, nearly 70,000 people were killed in clashes between Sendero Luminoso and state forces.

Although nearly all Shining Path leaders are behind bars, combatants are still scattered in isolated forest and mountain areas.

Authorities estimated their number at 350 earlier this year, accusing them of collaborating with drug traffickers.