Paraguayan People's Army

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Paraguayan People’s Army
(Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo)
Founded 2005
Founding location Horqueta
Years active 2005–present
Territory Paraguay Paraguay, mostly focused on Concepción, Canindeyú and San Pedro departments
Membership (est.) ~100
Criminal activities Bombing, arson, assassination, kidnapping
Allies FARC
(Suspected) and Horacio Cartes
Rivals Paraguay Government of Paraguay
Colombia Government of Colombia[1]

The Paraguayan People’s Army (Spanish: Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo or EPP) is a communist[2] guerrilla movement that has staged a number of armed operations, including bombings, arson attacks, shootings and kidnappings as part of an organized insurgency. They operate in northern Paraguay, with most incidents occurring in Concepción Department, as well as the neighboring departments of Canindeyú and San Pedro. The EPP are believed to number 50-80 members.[3]

As of March 2012, the group was suspected of carrying out 27 separate operations, with more than half of them occurring after January 2011. These incidents resulted in the deaths of at least 16 people — 9 civilians and 7 police officers.[4] By December 2013, the insurgency resulted in killing of at least 33 civilians and police officers,[5] with an unknown number of killed EPP operatives.[5] By mid 2016, fatalities from the insurgency had surpassed 60, most of them civilians and police.

Origins[edit]

The EPP began as an offshoot of another radical fringe group, the Free Homeland Party (Partido Patria Libre – PPL). After the PPL was taken apart by police in 2005, several members decided to form a new group with which to continue the armed struggle.[6]

Timeline[edit]

Alcides Oviedo Brítez, current EPP leader.

By December 2013, the insurgency resulted in killing of at least 33 civilians and police officers,[5] with an unknown number of killed EPP operatives. Two EPP operatives were killed in early April 2014, including the third in command in EPP; one Paraguayan soldier was also killed.[7]

On August 27, 2016, the insurgents ambushed a mobile patrol of the Paraguayan army with a roadside bomb and automatic weapons, killing one officer and eight non-commissioned officers. The guerrillas stole their M-4 carbines and a light machine gun, along with 1,500 round of ammunitions. The incident took place near the village of Arroyito, east of Concepcion.[8]

Political views[edit]

The EPP criticized the government of Fernando Lugo, saying that he ignored the country's social problems and would not implement real land reform.[9] In 2012, the EPP declared war on Federico Franco's cabinet, describing the Impeachment of Fernando Lugo as a "white collar theft". The Paraguayan state describes the group as a terrorist organization.

Links with other organizations[edit]

It is known that at least one key FARC leader, Orley Jurado Palomino, has gone to Paraguay to provide training, advice and operational leadership to the insurgent group.[10] It is also unclear if the EPP has ties with some major Brazilian drug trafficking organizations, like the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) and Red Command or Comando Vermelho which are known to have a significant presence in northern Paraguay.[11]

Kidnappings[edit]

Along with armed raids, arson attacks and bombings, the group has also been accused of the kidnapping and murder of Cecilia Cubas, the daughter of former President of Paraguay Raúl Cubas Grau, as well as the abduction of Fidel Zavala, who was freed on January 17, 2010, after 94 days in captivity.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/judicial/colombia-entrena-paraguayos-combatir-al-epp-articulo-577954
  2. ^ ultimahora.com. "Paraguay: Ejército Paraguayo del Pueblo ya incursiona militarmente". ultimahora.com. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  3. ^ Infosurhoy.com. "Paraguay: Government increases presence to combat EPP". Infosurhoy. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  4. ^ a b Ramsey, Geoffrey (March 6, 2012). "Tracking the Rise of Paraguay's Rebel Army". In Sight Crime. 
  5. ^ a b c "The EPP has now killed 33 people, including police officers and civilians, since 2005, the government said." [1]
  6. ^ Díaz, Natalia Ruiz (May 4, 2010). "Paraguay: Controversy Over Troop Deployment". ¡Presente!. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ Color, ABC. "El atentado más cruel del EPP en 19 años - Edicion Impresa - ABC Color" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-08-28. 
  9. ^ Rojas, Freddy (November 12, 2008). "Anuncian ocupaciones violentas en nombre del Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo". ABC Digital (in Spanish). Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ Escurra, Marta (March 16, 2010). "Paraguayan guerrillas were trained by the FARC". infosurhoy.com. 
  11. ^ Barrios, Hugo (April 12, 2010). "Paraguay ups counter-narcotics effort on border with Brazil". infosurhoy.com.