Paraguayan People's Army

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Paraguayan People's Army
EPP logo.png
Fullname: Paraguayan People’s Army
Alias: Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo
EPP
Origin: Paraguay
Foundation: March 2008
Headquarters: Horqueta, Paraguay
Commanders: Alcides Oviedo Brítez
Goals: Overthrow the Paraguayan government and establish a socialist state (ongoing)
Crimes: War crimes
Arson
Kidnapping
Bombings
Terrorism

The Paraguayan People’s Army (Spanish: Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo, EPP) is a communist guerrilla movement that has staged a number of armed operations, including bombings, arson attacks, shootings and kidnappings as part of an organized insurgency that has been occurring in the country since 2005. 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.

The EPP criticized the government of Fernando Lugo, saying that he ignored the country's social problems and would not implement real land reform. 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.

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.

Biography

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.

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. By December 2013, the insurgency resulted in killing of at least 33 civilians and police officers, with an unknown number of killed EPP operatives. By mid 2016, fatalities from the insurgency had surpassed 60, most of them civilians and police.

By December 2013, the insurgency resulted in killing of at least 33 civilians and police officers, 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.

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 Concepción.

The group is alleged to have ties to another South American paramilitary group, FARC, which is based in Colombia and also follows a Marxist doctrine. There is also a splinter faction of the EPP known as the Armed Peasant Association that fights alongside them.