Paraguayan Soldiers Train with Colombian Armed Forces
By Dialogo July 01, 2015
Members of the Armed Forces of Paraguay are training with their Colombian counterparts, who have decades of experience fighting guerrillas, to bolster their efforts to fight terrorism.
Since May 16, Paraguayan Soldiers have participated in a three-month training course at the Professional Soldiers’ School (ESPRO) in the department of Cundinamarca, Colombia. During that time, 77 non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and three Officers from different branches of the Paraguayan military will exchange knowledge with the Colombian Troops during courses on strategies for counter-terrorism and combat.
The process for selecting the NCOs for the international command training course lasted one month, during which instructors evaluated more than 100 candidates.
“All of the Troops are good, but the ones who were selected are the ones best qualified for the type of training given at ESPRO,” said Colonel Jorge Mieres, Director of Social Communications for the Paraguayan Armed Forces.
The training provided at Professional Soldier Course No. 48 includes courses on techniques and tactics for patrols, ambushes and counter-ambushes, and other specialties such as high-precision shooting, ground navigation, military communications, and preparation to wage an effective fight against illegal activities that could put national security at risk.
“The knowledge acquired and strategies learned there will be of great practical use, centered on the fight against criminal and terrorist organizations like the EPP, which is operating in the northern part of the country," said Paraguayan Minister of Defense Bernardino Soto Estigarribia.
The government is using several tactics to fight the EPP, including military patrols, under the auspices of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the northern part of the country. Soldiers gather intelligence to locate EPP camps and also conduct random check points.
For security reasons, the Military does not publicly disclose the exact number of service members involved in such operations.
Paraguayan and Colombian Troops share knowledge
Engaging in training programs with partner nations is a key component of the Paraguayan government's strategy to defeat the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP).
This is the second contingent of Paraguayan Soldiers that has trained with Colombian Troops. In 2014, the first contingent of 77 Paraguayan service members trained in Colombia; and in September, a third contingent of Paraguayan Soldiers will travel to Colombia to train in this same course.
“We have already had other experiences with Paraguayan [service members] traveling to Colombia for military training; however, the best part is that this is the first time since last year that there will be a large delegation,” Colonel Mieres said.
In a separate initiative, in June, Paraguayan service members participated in a training program with United States instructors from B Company, 3rd Battalion, 20th Group of the North Carolina Air National Guard Special Forces. The training involves a joint exchange of knowledge on counter-terrorism, counter-kidnapping, and the prevention of other crimes.