Paraguayan Joint Task Force Seeks to Free Two EPP Kidnapping Victims

Paraguayan Joint Task Force Seeks to Free Two EPP Kidnapping Victims

By Dialogo
November 17, 2014




Paraguayan military and police forces are using intelligence to try to locate and secure the safe release of Arlan Fick and police First Sergeant Edelio Morínigo, who were kidnapped by the terrorist group the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) in April and July of this year, respectively.

The country’s Joint Task Force (FTC), a team consisting of military and police personnel, is leading the effort to locate Fick, 17, and Morínigo, 25, and bring them home safely. Its sole mission is to combat the EPP, particularly in the northern region of the country.

“We are conducting our search efforts to locate where [the hostages] are in fact located. The strategy aims at intensifying our intelligence efforts,” said FTC Communications Chief Lt. Col. Víctor Urdapilleta. “We are seeing a way to get to them, preserving the hostages’ lives, which is the most important thing.”

On October 22, the EPP released a video showing that Fick and Morínigo were still alive. The two are shown at a campsite, surrounded by four EPP members who are armed and dressed in military uniforms, under a tent marked “People’s Jail.”

In the video, Morínigo speaks first. In the Guaraní language, he addresses his remarks to his relatives, asking for calm and saying that he is in good health and has not been tortured or mistreated.

Fick is shown next. He also addresses his family, reading a brief statement in which he says “the EPP will keep their promise (to free him).” Fick, whose parents are Brazilian, also requested that the government of Brazil intervene in the rescue negotiations. Since the case became public, Zulmar Pimentel, the Brazilian Federal Police attaché in Asunción, has been cooperating with Paraguayan authorities.

Ransom paid


The EPP is still holding Fick even though his family has already paid a ransom for his release.

In a May 20 press conference, Alcido Fick, the victim’s father, said he had paid US$500,000 for Arlan’s release, and in addition delivered livestock valued at US$50,000 to a poor community in the northern zone of Paraguay.

“You promised to free my son if I complied with your demands,” he said.

The delays in releasing Fick and Morínigo show that the EPP is emulating the kidnappings perpetrated by another terrorist group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), from whom the EPP has received “training and support,” according to Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas.

The EPP was formed in 2001 under the name “Movimiento Patria Libre” (Free Homeland Movement), which later became a political party. Some of its members have broken away and live covertly, using weapons and committing crimes such as kidnappings.

The terrorist organization is particularly active in the country’s northern zone, which covers the departments of San Pedro, Concepción and Canindeyú. It has been accused of more than 20 kidnappings, including the 2004 kidnapping of Cecilia Cubas, the daughter of former Paraguayan President Raúl Cubas. Cecilia was found dead in February 2005, even though the family had paid a ransom for her release.

To maximize the safety of the kidnapping victims, security forces are not publicly divulging their rescue strategies, said Urdapilleta.

“Our feelings are divided on this. On the one hand is the government’s firm stance that it will not negotiate with these criminals, and on the other hand, there is the psychological suffering endured by the hostages’ families. We live through it with them every single day.”



Paraguayan military and police forces are using intelligence to try to locate and secure the safe release of Arlan Fick and police First Sergeant Edelio Morínigo, who were kidnapped by the terrorist group the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) in April and July of this year, respectively.

The country’s Joint Task Force (FTC), a team consisting of military and police personnel, is leading the effort to locate Fick, 17, and Morínigo, 25, and bring them home safely. Its sole mission is to combat the EPP, particularly in the northern region of the country.

“We are conducting our search efforts to locate where [the hostages] are in fact located. The strategy aims at intensifying our intelligence efforts,” said FTC Communications Chief Lt. Col. Víctor Urdapilleta. “We are seeing a way to get to them, preserving the hostages’ lives, which is the most important thing.”

On October 22, the EPP released a video showing that Fick and Morínigo were still alive. The two are shown at a campsite, surrounded by four EPP members who are armed and dressed in military uniforms, under a tent marked “People’s Jail.”

In the video, Morínigo speaks first. In the Guaraní language, he addresses his remarks to his relatives, asking for calm and saying that he is in good health and has not been tortured or mistreated.

Fick is shown next. He also addresses his family, reading a brief statement in which he says “the EPP will keep their promise (to free him).” Fick, whose parents are Brazilian, also requested that the government of Brazil intervene in the rescue negotiations. Since the case became public, Zulmar Pimentel, the Brazilian Federal Police attaché in Asunción, has been cooperating with Paraguayan authorities.

Ransom paid


The EPP is still holding Fick even though his family has already paid a ransom for his release.

In a May 20 press conference, Alcido Fick, the victim’s father, said he had paid US$500,000 for Arlan’s release, and in addition delivered livestock valued at US$50,000 to a poor community in the northern zone of Paraguay.

“You promised to free my son if I complied with your demands,” he said.

The delays in releasing Fick and Morínigo show that the EPP is emulating the kidnappings perpetrated by another terrorist group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), from whom the EPP has received “training and support,” according to Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas.

The EPP was formed in 2001 under the name “Movimiento Patria Libre” (Free Homeland Movement), which later became a political party. Some of its members have broken away and live covertly, using weapons and committing crimes such as kidnappings.

The terrorist organization is particularly active in the country’s northern zone, which covers the departments of San Pedro, Concepción and Canindeyú. It has been accused of more than 20 kidnappings, including the 2004 kidnapping of Cecilia Cubas, the daughter of former Paraguayan President Raúl Cubas. Cecilia was found dead in February 2005, even though the family had paid a ransom for her release.

To maximize the safety of the kidnapping victims, security forces are not publicly divulging their rescue strategies, said Urdapilleta.

“Our feelings are divided on this. On the one hand is the government’s firm stance that it will not negotiate with these criminals, and on the other hand, there is the psychological suffering endured by the hostages’ families. We live through it with them every single day.”
Our world is worse off than a never ending hole. We get sad when we watch national and international news; it seems like we're living in a tumultuous end where everything is a disaster and where we have forgotten about God, his word, and we do things as if we were irrational, fathers killing sons and daughters, an increase in robberies, essentially, terrible inhumanity. Let us, in each one of our own religions, pray more so that God protects us, so that mankind is more united and so that the fraternal spirit of Christmas is not only found in the beautiful words on post cards. Put an end to the production of weapons and everything will be minimized. The rest will be resolved through other measures.
Share