5 killed by leftist guerrillas: Paraguay police
AFPASUNCION -- Leftist guerrillas kidnapped and killed five guards who worked for a cattle ranch north of Asuncion, in a challenge for the new government of President Horacio Cartes, authorities said Sunday.
August 20, 2013, 1:53 pm TWN
Police said the guerrillas ambushed police who arrived on the scene of the attack, wounding one.
Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas attributed the deaths to the Paraguayan People's Army, a Marxist guerrilla group that the government suspects of having links to Colombia's FARC rebels.
It was the first attack by the group since Cartes, a conservative businessman, was sworn in Thursday to a five-year term as president.
Police said the guards' campsite in the Lagunita ranch in the province of San Pedro was overrun by the guerrillas Saturday night.
The ranch is owned by a Brazilian, Renato Recender.
The EPP has been active in San Pedro and Concepcion provinces, the country's two poorest, since 2007, and has been blamed for 31 killings since then.
De Vargas said Cartes had given instructions to “act with maximum rigor” against the EPP.
But he said the government wanted to be careful not to overreact, so as not to let the guerrillas set the agenda for the new government.
Defense Minister Bernardino Soto Estigarribia said the armed forces were ready to intervene if ordered to do so by the president.
“We will not say when or where the troops will be used. That remains to be seen,” he said.