Paraguayan People's Army insurgency

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Paraguayan People's Army insurgency
EPP insurgency departments.png
Departments where EPP attacks have taken place
Date 2005 – present
Location Northern Paraguay
Result Conflict ongoing
Belligerents

Paraguay Government of Paraguay


Supported by:


Paraguayan People's Army (EPP)
Armed Peasant Association (ACA) [2]


Supported by:

Commanders and leaders
Paraguay Nicanor Duarte
(2005–2008)
Paraguay Fernando Lugo
(2008–2012)
Paraguay Federico Franco
(2012–2013)
Paraguay Horacio Cartes
(2013 – )
Oviedo Brítez  (POW)
Carmen Villabla  (POW)
Osmar Martínez
Osvaldo Villalba
Albino Larrea (ACA)
Alfredo Jara Larrea (ACA) [4]
Strength
~3,500 Army soldiers deployed, 20,000 in reserve. 20[5]-80 Paraguayan People's Army
~20 Armed Farmers' Group[6]
Casualties and losses
~59 killed[7](2005-2015)

The Paraguayan People’s Army insurgency, also named the EPP rebellion (from the group's name in Spanish: Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo), is an ongoing small-scale guerrilla campaign in Northern Paraguay. From 2005 until the summer of 2014, the EPP campaign had resulted in at least 50 deaths in total, the majority of them being local ranchers and police officers, along with several insurgents. During that same period the group perpetrated 28 kidnappings for ransom and a total of 85 "violent acts".[8]

The insurgency began in 2005, after several members of the Partido Patria Libre formed the Paraguayan People’s Army. The Government of Paraguay suspects the EPP has ties to the Colombian rebel group FARC.[9][10] In 2014, a subgroup of EPP splintered to create the Armed Farmers Group (ACA), which has also already engaged in fighting the Paraguayan government.

Background[edit]

The 1990 collapse of the Stroessner dictatorship in Paraguay, fueled the rapid development of previously banned, left wing political groups. At the same year, current EPP leader Oviedo Britez, enrolled into the theology faculty of the Catholic University of Asuncion.[4]

In 1992, Britez was expelled from the theology study course, becoming increasingly interested in political change through revolutionary armed struggle. Britez, Juan Arrom Suhurt and Britez's fiance Carmen Villalba soon created the core of Partido Patria Libre, Paraguayan People's Army's precursor.[4]

Between 1995 - 1996, Britez and Villalba allegedly received military training from Chile's, Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front.[4]

In 1997, MPL carried its first act of expropriation by unsuccessfully attempting to carry a bank robbery in the town of Choré. All six robbers were detained by a local police unit, later receiving a 3-year sentence. Following the release of its members in early 2000, MPL launched a recruiting campaign and adopted kidnapping as its main source of funds.[4]

Its first significant action was the 2001 kidnapping of María Edith Bordón de Debernardi.Her husband, businessman Antonio Debernardi, paid 1 million $ for her release.[3]

On 2 July 2004, police officers captured Oviedo Britez and Carmen Villalba in Ñemby, on the outskirts of Asunción. A search of the couple's house in the city of San Lorenzo, followed the arrest, intelligence materials and operating manuals were seized. Following Britez's and Villalba's detention, Osmar Martínez and Osvaldo Villalba became EPP's new field commanders.[4]

In 2004, the group kidnapped Cecilia Cubas, the daughter of the former president of Paraguay Raúl Cubas.Despite receiving a ransom of 300,000 $ the kidnappers killed Cubas.[11]

After the PPL was taken apart by security forces in 2005, several members decided to form a new group with which to continue the armed struggle.[12] Adopting it's current name in 2008.[13]

EPP's ideology was first outlined in a book called "Francist 21st Century Revolution", written by Britez in prison. The book is named after Jose Rodriguez de Francia, a dictator who ruled over Paraguay between 1814 - 1841, and incorporates elements of Bolivarianism and Marxism–Leninism.[4] The majority of EPP's members reportedly belong to eight families.Despite its limited size, EPP enjoys the support of the local population in the areas that it controls.[4]

Apart from the use of abductions EPP also engaged in cattle raiding, extortion, robberies and drug trade operations. The later was facilitated with the aid of FARC, although EPP initially only extorted drug producers, reports indicate the presence of EPP's own marijuana plantations. An EPP communique denied any involvement in the drug trade, accusing the government of propaganda.[4]

In August 2014, EPP agents Albino Larrea and Alfredo Jara Larrea, formed a splinter faction known as ACA. ACA's initial strength amounted to 13 fighters, as many as 5 ACA rebels were allegedly killed in clashes with security forces in September 2014.[4]

Timeline[edit]

2005[edit]

  • On 27 August 2005, a pair of policemen encountered an EPP column in the area of Yasy Cañy,Canindeyú. The resulting skirmished lead to the death of one policeman.[4]

2008[edit]

  • On 31 July 2008, a band of 5 militants abducted farm owner Luis Alberto Lindstron, the incident took place in the zone of Kuruzú de Hierro. Two rebels were wounded in the aftermath of a firefight with security forces, that took place as the kidnappers were withdrawing.[4]
  • On 12 September 2008, Alberto Lindstron was released from captivity, after his relatives paid a 120,000 $ ransom.[4]

2009[edit]

  • 1 August 2009 – Paraguayan police discovered an EPP forest encampment in the Concepcion department.The occupants managed to escape after briefly firing shots.Food,plans for future activities and approximately 27.900 $ were seized.[14]
  • 29 August 2009 – EPP detonated an IED at the Paraguayan Palace of Justice.The explosion caused minor property damage.[15]
  • On 15 October 2009, insurgents abducted Fidel Zavala, a rancher from the region of Concepción. Before leaving, the rebels booby trapped Zavala's vehicle, two policemen were wounded while investigating Zavala's disappearance.[4]
  • 31 December 2009 – EPP members attacked a small military outpost in the San Pedro department, stealing weapons and burning it to the ground.[16]

2010[edit]

Oviedo Brítez, current EPP leader.
  • In early January 2010, Fidel Zavala was freed from captivity following a ransom of 550,000 $, 30 heads of cattle were also distributed among Concepción's poor communities.[4]
  • 21 April 2010 – The aftermath of a shootout between EPP members and security forces in Arroyito leaves one policeman and three private guards dead.[17]
  • May 2010 – 4 security guards were killed by EPP after accidentally discovering an EPP encampment.Following the incident,a 30-day state of emergency was declared in five provinces.With 3000 soldiers and policemen deployed to combat the rebels.[18][19]
  • September 2010 – High ranking EPP members Nimio Cardozo and Gabriel Zárate Cardozo were killed in a police operation.[20]

2011[edit]

  • 17 January 2011 – explosives planted by EPP injure five people in the town of Horqueta.[17]
  • April 2011 – A police officer and three ranch workers are killed by EPP.[21]
  • May 2011 – Jesús Ortiz, an EPP logistics co-ordinator is captured.[21]
  • July 2011 – EPP claimed responsibility of a sabotage action on a farm in the department of Concepción, in which farm machinery was destroyed.[17]

2012[edit]

  • September 2012 – One policeman is killed and one is seriously injured after an EPP attack in the town of Azotey.[22]
  • 16 November 2012 – Authorities detained three members of the EPP’s logistics branch in the area of Tacuatí.[20]

2013[edit]

  • June 2013 – A rancher is killed by EPP.[23]
  • August 2013 – Five people were killed by suspected EPP militants near San Pedro.[24]
  • 15 August – Paraguay's new President Horacio Cartes announces an assault on the EPP, sending 400 troops to the north of the country.[25]
  • November 2013 – EPP members perpetrated an attack that left 5 people dead in the area of Tacuatí.[26]
  • December 2013 – EPP guerrillas killed a rancher and a government soldier in two separate attacks.[27]

2014[edit]

  • April 2, 2014 – 2 EPP guerillas and a soldier were killed after an attack against a Brazilian-owned property in the province of Concepción. One of the two EPP members was the group's reported third-in-command. The insurgents managed to kidnap the 16-year old son of the farmers during their escape.[9]
  • July 4–5, 2014 – A police officer was kidnapped in the north of the country, a day after an electricity tower was bombed near Wye in Concepción Province. The attack disrupted the electricity supply to approximately 90,000 residents, most of them in Pedro Juan Caballero in the neighboring Amambay Department. Damages were estimated at over 1 million $ in total.[8][28]
  • September 8, 2014 - A faction splinters from the EPP, forming the Armed Farmers Group, which also fights the government.[2]
  • On 12 September 2014, a Fuerzas de Tarea Conjunta (FTC) counter insurgency team raided a house department of Concepción. Two suspected EPP members were killed in the incident.[29]
  • On 30 December 2014, EPP freed Arlan Fick, who was held hostage since his kidnapping in April.A ransom of 500,000 $ was paid to the insurgents, 50,000 $ worth of food was also distributed to two communities as part of the deal.[30]

2015[edit]

  • On January 7, it was reported that Albino Jara (aka Commander Milciades Leon) - one of the leaders of the ACA and a teenage rebel were killed in a shootout with security forces in Concepcion province.[31]
  • On January 25, EPP members attacked and burned parts of a farm in Azotey in the south of Concepción Department. No one was injured in the attack, which was the second such incident at the same location in less than a month. In a handwritten note left on the premises, the guerrillas demanded that the farm's owner pay a $300,000 'fine' and distribute free beef to local communities as punishment for alleged deforestation before February 6, insisting that ""Nature is not ours; it's only borrowed from future generations".[32][33]
  • On January 30, authorities discovered the bullet-ridden bodies of a German couple who had been kidnapped the previous day together with four local workers from a farm in Yby Yaú, Concepción Department, adjacent to the one attacked a few days earlier. Both German citizens had been living on the ranch for more than 30 years.[34]
  • On March 24, the Paraguayan police uncovered the bodies of three farm workers on the Alegria ranch, Ticuati township. An EPP signed note left next to the corpses warned the farmers against using pesticides and owning weapons. A government prosecutor stated that the ranchers were killed despite complying with the demands. [35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "La Nacion Article". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Paraguayan Guerrilla and Land Conflict: The Next Colombia?". Telesur. 8 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "FARC-EPP links". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The Paraguayan People’s Army:A new rebel group or simple bandits?" (PDF). Friedrich Albert Stiftung. February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Combatant Estimate". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  7. ^ See;[1][2][3][4]
  8. ^ a b "Attacks Sign of Growing EPP Strength in Paraguay Despite Security Crackdown". InSight Crime. 2014-07-10. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  9. ^ a b "Paraguay Lauds Heavy Blow to EPP After Leader's Killing – InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Americas". InSight Crime. 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  10. ^ "Paraguay on alert for FARC-EPP ties (Dialogo)". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Cubas Kidnapping". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Díaz, Natalia Ruiz (May 4, 2010). "Paraguay: Controversy Over Troop Deployment". ¡Presente!. 
  13. ^ "EPP Origins". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "EPP Cable (1 August 2009)". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "EPP Cable (29 August 2009)". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "EPP Cable (January 2009)". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c "Council on Hemispheric Affairs". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Al Jazeera Report". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "France 24 Report". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Dialogo Americas Article". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Economist Article". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  22. ^ "Pulsa America". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Paraguay Launches Anti-Guerrilla Offensive After Rancher Assassination – InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Americas". InSight Crime. 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  24. ^ "BBC News – Paraguay 'EPP leftist rebels' kill five in San Pedro". Bbc.com. 2013-08-18. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  25. ^ "100 Days In, Paraguay President's War on EPP Sees Little Progress – InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Americas". InSight Crime. 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  26. ^ "NY Times Article". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  27. ^ "Insight Crime". Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Sabotage Damage (La Nacion)". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  29. ^ "Counter-insurgency unit kills two in bungled raid". 18 September 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  30. ^ "Paraguay está en alerta máxima ante posibles nuevos secuestros y ataques guerrilleros". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  31. ^ "Guerrilla leader dies in shootout with security forces in Paraguay". Fox News Latino. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  32. ^ "EPP ataca de nuevo". Paraguay.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  33. ^ "German couple killed in Paraguay, apparently by guerrillas". The State. January 30, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  34. ^ "German couple killed in Paraguay by guerrilla kidnappers". Deutsche Welle. January 30, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Paraguay’s Marxist Guerrilla Kill Three Farm Workers". Panam Pos. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference insightcrimeJuly was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference eiu18092014 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference latinofoxnews07012015 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference GermanShooting was invoked but never defined (see the help page).