Old 12-10-2013, 18:39   #1
Dog Pound Zulu
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Paraguay EPP


Paraguyan Guerrillas
While Colombia may be on the verge of reaching a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), it seems Paraguay is nowhere near finding a solution to its Marxist rebel group problem. The Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) is a relatively small and elusive force that’s causing havoc in various parts of the South American nation.

Francisco de Vargas, the nation’s interior minister, has called actions by the EPP “a declared war against the republic.” But how can the Paraguayan government defeat a force of rebels it cannot find? The guerrilla force, which was established in 2005, has steadily stepped up its attacks against the government.

According to the New York Times, the EPP has been attacking security forces in frontier settlements, planting bombs under police vehicles, as well as kidnapping and killing wealthy and powerful Paraguayans. The elusive force, which some estimate to include 150 combatants, has managed to successfully evade the Paraguayan government’s efforts to eradicate it.

The Paraguayan People’s Army has been involved in several high-profile kidnappings and killings over the past few years.

In 2006, the Marxist group kidnapped and later killed Cecilia Cubas, daughter of the ex-Paraguayan President Raul Cubas. Earlier this year, the group killed another high-profile Paraguayan--Luis Lindstron, a 63-year-old cattle rancher and former mayor of Tacuati. Lindstron had been a kidnapping victim of the EPP in 2008 and had reportedly received several threats since his release.

Bernardo Cristaldo Mieres, a Roman Catholic priest whose younger brother, Manuel Cristaldo Mieres, is a leader of the group and is believed to be behind Cubas’ kidnapping, told the Times, “The EPP are Marxists who want to take over Paraguay.” The priest insisted he hadn’t spoken to his brother in years, adding, “I don’t support his violence.”

The Times reports that the number of killings attributed to the EPP has remained relatively low, however the rebel group has managed to contribute to the militarization of northern Paraguay. The government has sent hundreds of soldiers to increase military patrols and has also deployed special operations units to find the rebels.

In June, former Interior Minister Carmelo Caballero announced the creation of a “Crisis Commission” to track down members of the EPP following Lindstron’s murder. The military continues to search for members of the elusive guerrilla group, but recent news from the country suggests they have failed to capture anyone.

A recent operation to capture at least five EPP members at a campsite was thwarted by a dog, Paraguayan media reported. The military was able to identify the five men, who were ambushed in the botched operation. The end result saw the deaths of two soldiers and the escape of the five rebel members. However, operatives were able to uncover several weapons, camouflage, and key tactical information as well as materials to build bombs.

Adding to the group’s ability to evade authorities is its apparent training by Colombia’s FARC. In 2010, it was revealed that the group received training from the FARC and even travelled to Colombia for it.

Alejo Vera, a prosecutor of the anti-kidnapping unit of Paraguay, told infosurHoy, “A group [of Paraguayan guerrillas] went to be trained in Colombia. They learned kidnapping techniques. Now, they wear the same type of camouflaged uniforms, they use similar weapons and they follow the manual of terrorism word-by-word.”

However, unlike the FARC, the EPP does not seem to want to negotiate with the government, but instead is determined to topple it.
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