Thursday, December 06, 2012
By Peter M Tase
On Wednesday December 5, agents of the National Police of Paraguay were engaged in an armed encounter with members of the self-proclaimed Paraguayan People’s Army (Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo, EPP), an armed criminal group which is considered to an extended arm ofFARC in Colombia. EPP is relatively small, operating Paraguay’s Concepcion region and frequently engaged in actions against police forces stationed in the area. During their attack in July, they set fire to a police post. On November 15, EPP was also involved in attempting to destroy the high-tension electric towers running through the border area between Concepcion and the province of San Pedro. The latter is considered to be the poorest province of Paraguay.
In the latest full-scale encounter with EPP, the National Police wounded one member of the group. Others are being pursued by police and special forces in the nearby forests.
President Federico Franco’s government is determined to eradicate this terrorist group and has substantially increased the presence of military and special police forces in the area that is considered to be a stronghold of the EPP. Police Commissioner Antonio Gamarra stated to Speronews that “ five members of EPP had exchanged gun fire with police forces, one of them was wounded and there [were] no casualties among the police involved in the gun fight.” Gamarra, who led the police in the gunfight, added that they found an abandoned shotgun, as well as ammunition. The shotgun was inscribed with the words “Long live the armed struggle.”
Local police officers and members of the tactical group called “León Pirú” continue to patrol the area and are on the hunt for other members of EPP.