Paraguayan People's Army insurgency
|Paraguayan People's Army insurgency|
Departments where EPP attacks have taken place
|Commanders and leaders|
| Nicanor Duarte
(2013 – )
|Oviedo Brítez (POW)
Carmen Villabla (POW)
Bernardo Bernal Corn †
Albino Larrea (ACA)
Alfredo Jara Larrea (ACA)
|~3,500 Army soldiers deployed, 20,000 in reserve.||20-150 Paraguayan People's Army
~20 Armed Farmers' Group
|Casualties and losses|
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 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".
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. In 2014 a subgroup of EPP splintered to create the Armed Farmers Group (ACA), which has also engaged in fighting the Paraguayan government.
The 1990 collapse of the Stroessner dictatorship in Paraguay fueled the rapid development of previously banned, left-wing political groups. In the same year current EPP leader Oviedo Britez enrolled in the theology faculty of the Catholic University of Asuncion.
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 fiancee Carmen Villalba soon created the core of Partido Patria Libre, Paraguayan People's Army's precursor.
In 1997 MPL carried its first act of expropriation by unsuccessfully attempting a bank robbery in the town of Choré. All six robbers were detained by a local police unit, and later received a three-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.
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. On 2 July 2004, police 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.
In 2004 the group kidnapped Cecilia Cubas, the daughter of former president of Paraguay Raúl Cubas. Despite receiving a ransom of $300,000, the kidnappers killed her. 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, adopting its current name in 2008.
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 1814-41, and incorporates elements of Bolivarianism and Marxism–Leninism. 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.
Apart from the use of abductions EPP also engaged in cattle raiding, extortion, robberies and drug trade operations. The latter 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.
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, but as many as five of their fighters were allegedly killed in clashes with security forces in September 2014.
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2016)|
- On 27 August 2005, a pair of policemen encountered an EPP column in the area of Yasy Cañy, Canindeyú. The resulting skirmish led to the death of one policeman.
- On 31 July 2008, a band of five militants abducted farm owner Luis Alberto Lindstron; the incident took place in the zone of Kuruzú de Hierro. Two rebels were wounded after a firefight with security forces that took place as the kidnappers were withdrawing.
- On 12 September 2008, Alberto Lindstron was released from captivity after his relatives paid a $120,000 ransom.
- 1 August 2009 – 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.
- 29 August 2009 – EPP detonated an IED at the Paraguayan Palace of Justice.The explosion caused minor property damage.
- 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 his disappearance.
- 31 December 2009 – EPP members attacked a small military outpost in the San Pedro department, stealing weapons and burning it to the ground.
- In early January 2010 Fidel Zavala was freed from captivity following a ransom of $550,000. Thirty cattle were also distributed among Concepción's poor communities.
- 21 April 2010 – The aftermath of a shootout between EPP members and security forces in Arroyito leaves one policeman and three private guards dead.
- May 2010 – Four 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 police deployed to combat the rebels.
- July 2010, EPP member Severiano Martinez is killed in a shootout with police.
- September 2010 – High ranking EPP members Nimio Cardozo and Gabriel Zárate Cardozo were killed in a police operation.
- 17 January 2011 – Explosives planted by EPP injure five people in the town of Horqueta.
- April 2011 – A police officer and three ranch workers are killed by EPP.
- May 2011 – Jesús Ortiz, an EPP logistics coordinator, is captured.
- July 2011 – EPP claimed responsibility for the sabotage on a farm in the department of Concepción, in which farm machinery was destroyed.
- 21 September 2011 - Two police officers are killed after a group of EPP militants attack their outpost near Horqueta with explosives and automatic weapons. The insurgents reportedly stole weapons and ammunition from the encampment before fleeing.
- September 2012 – One policeman is killed and one is seriously injured after an EPP attack in the town of Azotey.
- 16 November 2012 – Authorities detained three members of the EPP’s logistics branch in the area of Tacuatí.
- June 2013 – A rancher is killed by EPP.
- August 2013 – Five people were killed by suspected EPP militants near San Pedro.
- 15 August – Paraguay's new President Horacio Cartes announces an assault on the EPP, sending 400 troops to the north of the country.
- 8 December 2013 – EPP guerrillas killed a rancher and a government soldier in two separate attacks.
- 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 farmers during their escape.
- 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.
- September 8, 2014 - A faction splinters from the EPP, forming the Armed Farmers Group (ACA), which also fights the government.
- On 12 September 2014, a Fuerzas de Tarea Conjunta (FTC) counter-insurgency team raided a house in Concepción Department. Two suspected EPP members were killed in the raid.
- 19 September 2014 - Three ACA members are killed and two others injured in an engagement with Paraguayan Joint Task Force members.
- 21 September 2014 - One ACA member is killed in a Joint Task Force raid.
- On 30 December 2014, EPP freed Arlan Fick, who had been held hostage since his kidnapping in April. A ransom of $500,000 was paid to the insurgents, and $50,000 worth of food was also distributed to two communities as part of the deal.
- On January 5, Albino Jara (aka Commander Milciades Leon)--one of the leaders of the ACA and a teenage rebel sporting AK47-type assault rifles and a bag full of money--was killed in a shootout with security forces in Concepcion province.
- 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".
- On January 30, authorities discovered the bullet-riddled 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.
- On March 24 police discovered 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.
- On July 12 EPP militants attacked and killed two police officers. Another officer was killed in a separate attack three days later.
- On July 17 EPP militants killed three police officers close to the location of the July 12 attack.
- On November 16 the Paraguayan army killed four ACA militants in an engagement.
- On December 18, during an army operation, a civilian farmer was shot and killed near Kuruzu de Hierro in Concepcion Department after soldiers allegedly mistook him for an EPP member. In January 2016 his widow filed for an official investigation of the incident, with the help of Paraguayan NGO Serpaj-Py.
- On July 27 militants attacked a farm ~340 km north of the capital Asunción, burning a tractor and a truck and kidnapping Franz Wiebe Boschman, a Mennonite of German descent. The EPP later claimed responsibility for the attack and demanded a $700,000 ransom within 15 days in order to release the man.
- On August 27 EPP militants ambushed a Paraguayan military mobile patrol, traveling on a dirt road, with a roadside bomb and FN FAL battle rifles. The incident took place near Arroyito village, west of Concepcion. The assailants killed a total of eight soldiers, one of them an officer and the rest non-commissioned officers. The insurgents stole their M4 carbines equipped with scopes and grenade launchers, a light machine gun and 1,500 rounds of ammunition. This was the deadliest EPP attack to date.
- "La Nacion Article". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Paraguayan Guerrilla and Land Conflict: The Next Colombia?". Telesur. 8 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "FARC-EPP links". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "The Paraguayan People's Army:A new rebel group or simple bandits?" (PDF). Friedrich Albert Stiftung. February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- "A head and a soldier killed in fall EPP Step Tuyá".
- "Paraguayan Guerrilla and Land Conflict: The Next Colombia?". Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "Combatant Estimate". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Attacks Sign of Growing EPP Strength in Paraguay Despite Security Crackdown". InSight Crime. 2014-07-10. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Counter-insurgency unit kills two in bungled raid". 18 September 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
- "Guerrilla leader dies in shootout with security forces in Paraguay". Fox News Latino. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- "German couple killed in Paraguay by guerrilla kidnappers". Deutsche Welle. January 30, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- Paraguayan Guerrilla Leaders Killed in Clash with Army (Telesur TV, Nov 17, 2015)
- "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.
- "Paraguay on alert for FARC-EPP ties (Dialogo)". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Cubas Kidnapping". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Díaz, Natalia Ruiz (May 4, 2010). "Paraguay: Controversy Over Troop Deployment". ¡Presente!.
- "EPP Origins". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "EPP Cable (1 August 2009)". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "EPP Cable (29 August 2009)". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "EPP Cable (January 2009)". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Council on Hemispheric Affairs". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Al Jazeera Report". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "France 24 Report". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Google Translate". Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "Dialogo Americas Article". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Economist Article". Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- Color, ABC. "EPP mata a dos policías al atacar una subcomisaría de Horqueta, anoche - Articulos - ABC Color". Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "Suspected rebels kill eight soldiers in ambush in Paraguay". BBC News. 27 August 2016.
- "Pulsa America". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Paraguay Launches Anti-Guerrilla Offensive After Rancher Assassination – InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Americas". InSight Crime. 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "BBC News – Paraguay 'EPP leftist rebels' kill five in San Pedro". Bbc.com. 2013-08-18. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "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.
- "Insight Crime". Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Sabotage Damage (La Nacion)". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Gurney, Kyra. "Paraguay Security Forces Deal Major Blow to Dissident Guerrilla Group". Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "Paraguay está en alerta máxima ante posibles nuevos secuestros y ataques guerrilleros". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- "EPP ataca de nuevo". Paraguay.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- "German couple killed in Paraguay, apparently by guerrillas". The State. January 30, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "Paraguay's Marxist Guerrilla Kill Three Farm Workers". Panam Pos. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- Blair, Laurence (31 August 2015). "In Paraguay's remote north guerrillas are still at large, armed and dangerous". Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- Color, ABC. "Caen miembros del EPP buscados por el asesinato de cinco policías - Edicion Impresa - ABC Color". Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- Color, ABC. "Solicitan esclarecer muerte de campesino - Edicion Impresa - ABC Color". Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- Paraguay Rebels Demand Ransom After Kidnapping Mennonite Man (ABC News, July 28, 2016)
- "Suspected rebels kill eight soldiers in ambush in Paraguay - BBC News". Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- Clarin.com. "Paraguay: ocho militares mueren en un sangriento atentado del grupo guerrillero EPP" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- "Roban armamentos de la FTC - Paraguay.com". www.paraguay.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- Color, ABC. "El atentado más cruel del EPP en 19 años - Edicion Impresa - ABC Color" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-08-28.