Paraguay’s Joint Task Force on Alert Against the EPP

Paraguay’s Joint Task Force on Alert Against the EPP

By Dialogo
January 29, 2015




Paraguay’s Joint Task Force (FTC), a team consisting of Military and police personnel, is in a state of high alert in its fight against the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), a terrorist group responsible for kidnappings for ransom and killings.

“The fight is constant and the work does not cease. There are things we do not make public due to the security of the operations,” said Lieutenant Colonel Víctor Urdapilleta, an FTC spokesman. “This does not mean we are not working on it.”

The FTC is confronting a terrorist group that is comprised of family-based gangs, such as the Bernal Maíz, Larrea and Villalba organized crime groups, according to Urdapilleta.

Kidnappings for ransom


Paraguayan security forces have been battling the EPP since 2001, when the organization was the armed wing of the Marxist and anti-imperialist political party Patria Libre (Free Homeland). The first of six kidnappings committed by the illegal group took place against María Edith Bordón de Debenardi, the wife of a prominent businessman in November 2001 for whom they demanded a ransom of $1 million for her release. The ransom was paid, and the terrorist group released her after two months in captivity.

The terrorist group continued to use kidnapping for ransom. In September 2004, the outlaw group kidnapped Cecilia Cubas, daughter of former Paraguayan President Raúl Cubas Grau and current Senator Mirta Gusinky. Law enforcement authorities eventually found Cubas’ body in a grave outside Asunción, despite the payment of a $350,000 ransom. The kidnappers justified the killing by claiming that the payment was not a ransom, but a “fine against Cubas’ parents.”

By 2008, the outlaw group had changed its name to the Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo, or Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP).

That year, the EPP kidnapped rancher Luis Lindstron, who remained in captivity from June 21 until September 12, when his family paid a ransom. But in 2013, Lindstron was killed, allegedly by the EPP. Law enforcement authorities suspected the EPP killed Lindstron because he was not willing to pay a “toll” to the terrorist group.

The EPP has continued to commit kidnappings for ransom.

On April 2, 2014, the EPP kidnapped Arlan Fick, 16. His father, Alcido Fick, paid $500,000 for his release. The terrorist group held Fick for 267 days before releasing him on Christmas Day. While the FTC did not rescue him, it helped make sure he was released safely.

“We cannot take credit for the release of Arlan Fick, but we can say that, thanks to actions that we undertook and other extreme actions we refrained from taking, he was released,” according to Urdapilleta.

The FTC confronts the ACA


In addition to battling the EPP, the FTC is also confronting an offshoot of the terrorist group, an organization which calls itself the Armed Peasant Association (ACA). This group, which arose in 2014, operates in the northern region of the country.

On January 6, FTC Troops and police were on patrol in the district of Horqueta, in the Department of Concepción, when they tried to capture ACA leader Albino Ramón Jara Larrea. He resisted arrest, and the FTC killed him, as well as another ACA leader, Rosalba Moraez. The two ACA members were carrying cash in local currency worth the equivalent of about $12,000.

The FTC has compiled intelligence about the ACA that will help it fight the terrorist group.

“The knowledge we have gained about their behavior, their management methods, their food supply, the type of equipment, and other data provides a lot of material for analysts to design more effective strategies to locate them,” Urdapilleta said.

Security forces have also made great advances in fighting the EPP, according to Colonel Jorge Mieres, director of the Army’s Social Communications Division (DICOSO). In recent years, the Prosecutor’s Office has obtained convictions against 46 individuals who confessed to being members of the EPP.

The Military and police are continuing to work hard to secure the release of Police Master Sergeant Edelio Morínigo, who was kidnapped by the EPP on July 5, 2014. The EPP has not demanded a ransom, but instead proposed a trade, offering to free Morínigo in exchange for the release of 46 EPP members who had been sentenced to prison.

The government rejected the idea. “The government will not negotiate with terrorists,” Minister of Interior Francisco De Vargas said on December 25 in a telephone conversation with Telefuturo
(Channel 4).





Paraguay’s Joint Task Force (FTC), a team consisting of Military and police personnel, is in a state of high alert in its fight against the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), a terrorist group responsible for kidnappings for ransom and killings.

“The fight is constant and the work does not cease. There are things we do not make public due to the security of the operations,” said Lieutenant Colonel Víctor Urdapilleta, an FTC spokesman. “This does not mean we are not working on it.”

The FTC is confronting a terrorist group that is comprised of family-based gangs, such as the Bernal Maíz, Larrea and Villalba organized crime groups, according to Urdapilleta.

Kidnappings for ransom


Paraguayan security forces have been battling the EPP since 2001, when the organization was the armed wing of the Marxist and anti-imperialist political party Patria Libre (Free Homeland). The first of six kidnappings committed by the illegal group took place against María Edith Bordón de Debenardi, the wife of a prominent businessman in November 2001 for whom they demanded a ransom of $1 million for her release. The ransom was paid, and the terrorist group released her after two months in captivity.

The terrorist group continued to use kidnapping for ransom. In September 2004, the outlaw group kidnapped Cecilia Cubas, daughter of former Paraguayan President Raúl Cubas Grau and current Senator Mirta Gusinky. Law enforcement authorities eventually found Cubas’ body in a grave outside Asunción, despite the payment of a $350,000 ransom. The kidnappers justified the killing by claiming that the payment was not a ransom, but a “fine against Cubas’ parents.”

By 2008, the outlaw group had changed its name to the Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo, or Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP).

That year, the EPP kidnapped rancher Luis Lindstron, who remained in captivity from June 21 until September 12, when his family paid a ransom. But in 2013, Lindstron was killed, allegedly by the EPP. Law enforcement authorities suspected the EPP killed Lindstron because he was not willing to pay a “toll” to the terrorist group.

The EPP has continued to commit kidnappings for ransom.

On April 2, 2014, the EPP kidnapped Arlan Fick, 16. His father, Alcido Fick, paid $500,000 for his release. The terrorist group held Fick for 267 days before releasing him on Christmas Day. While the FTC did not rescue him, it helped make sure he was released safely.

“We cannot take credit for the release of Arlan Fick, but we can say that, thanks to actions that we undertook and other extreme actions we refrained from taking, he was released,” according to Urdapilleta.

The FTC confronts the ACA


In addition to battling the EPP, the FTC is also confronting an offshoot of the terrorist group, an organization which calls itself the Armed Peasant Association (ACA). This group, which arose in 2014, operates in the northern region of the country.

On January 6, FTC Troops and police were on patrol in the district of Horqueta, in the Department of Concepción, when they tried to capture ACA leader Albino Ramón Jara Larrea. He resisted arrest, and the FTC killed him, as well as another ACA leader, Rosalba Moraez. The two ACA members were carrying cash in local currency worth the equivalent of about $12,000.

The FTC has compiled intelligence about the ACA that will help it fight the terrorist group.

“The knowledge we have gained about their behavior, their management methods, their food supply, the type of equipment, and other data provides a lot of material for analysts to design more effective strategies to locate them,” Urdapilleta said.

Security forces have also made great advances in fighting the EPP, according to Colonel Jorge Mieres, director of the Army’s Social Communications Division (DICOSO). In recent years, the Prosecutor’s Office has obtained convictions against 46 individuals who confessed to being members of the EPP.

The Military and police are continuing to work hard to secure the release of Police Master Sergeant Edelio Morínigo, who was kidnapped by the EPP on July 5, 2014. The EPP has not demanded a ransom, but instead proposed a trade, offering to free Morínigo in exchange for the release of 46 EPP members who had been sentenced to prison.

The government rejected the idea. “The government will not negotiate with terrorists,” Minister of Interior Francisco De Vargas said on December 25 in a telephone conversation with Telefuturo
(Channel 4).


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