HomeNewsBriefSuspected Guerrilla Ambush Leaves 8 Paraguay Soldiers Dead
BRIEF

Suspected Guerrilla Ambush Leaves 8 Paraguay Soldiers Dead

EPP / 29 AUG 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Authorities believe that a rebel group was behind the recent killing of eight soldiers in northern Paraguay in a deadly ambush that reveals the enduring security threat posed by the small but recalcitrant guerrilla army.

Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas said the soldiers were conducting a routine patrol near the northern municipality of Arroyito on August 27 when they were ambushed with explosives and gunfire, reported BBC Mundo. The attack killed eight members of the Joint Task Force (Fuerza de Tarea Conjunta – FTC), a police and military unit created to combat the Paraguayan People’s Army (Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo – EPP).

The EPP is active in Arroyito, and authorities suspect the Marxist rebel group is responsible for the attack, reported Reuters.

“Experience tells us that these terrorist criminals generally attack by placing explosive artifacts that are activated when vehicles pass by,” de Vargas said. “It is very probable that this is what happened.”

According to MercoPress, initial reports suggested that the soldiers had died as a result of the blast, but it was later determined that some were killed by gunshots to the head.

On Twitter, Presdient Horacio Cartes expressed sympathy for the families of the “martyred heroes,” and promised the “terrorists” would pay for their crimes.

“Sincere condolences to the families of heroes martyred from the cowardly attack by terrorists. In their memory, the guilty will pay,” the president’s message reads.

InSight Crime Analysis

It is rare for any illegal armed group to kill eight soldiers in a single ambush. But that’s especially true for a group like the EPP, which is thought to number no more than 150 fighters — and perhaps as few as 30. The group has only killed approximately 50 people since it began operating in the late 2000s, according to the BBC.

The EPP has nonetheless proven difficult to neutralize. Despite its diminutive size, the group has carried out several kidnappings and attacks on infrastructure in recent years. The EPP secured a $500,000 ransom following the well-publicized kidnapping of teenager Arlan Fick in April 2014, and the guerrillas still have at least three hostages in their custody.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

Corruption may be at the heart of the security forces’ inability to protect northern Paraguay from guerrilla attacks. In August 2015, FTC spokesperson Alfredo Jonas Ramirez Acosta told local media that elements of the force were passing along intelligence information to the EPP. “We can’t have the element of surprise if we’re also giving warning” to the EPP, Ramirez said. He was removed from his post later that day.

The government’s lackluster campaign to combat the EPP contrasts sharply with its spirited efforts against the guerrilla splinter group Armed Peasant Association (Asociación Campesina Armada – ACA). The ACA broke off from the EPP in 2014, but its founder and several of its subsequent leaders were killed the following year, likely spelling the end of the ACA as an independent group.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 23 OCT 2014

Paraguay's anti-drug chief has expressed concern over traffickers' ties to officials -- a phenomenon that may be inevitable given the…

PARAGUAY / 14 SEP 2016

Paraguay’s Attorney General’s Office is investigating anonymous death threats the president of congress says he received from drug traffickers in…

EPP / 17 SEP 2014

There is an assault rifle with an underslung grenade launcher propped against the wall by Luis Rojas' desk. The drug…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…