A prolonged gunbattle between Maoist rebels and an army patrol in the world's No. 1 cocaine-producing region left six soldiers and about 100 rebels dead, a military spokesman and the state-run news agency said.

The clash, which began Tuesday and continued into Wednesday, was the latest in a four-day wave of rebel violence by Shining Path insurgents.Riot police patrolled the capital of Lima late Wednesday to guard against looting after price increases of 100 to 180 percent for gasoline, rice, bread and other basic foods. Authorities also devalued the currency, the inti, by a sharp 50 percent.