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Suspected EPP rebels kill 8 soldiers in Paraguay

The security forces who were attacked belong to a unit created by the government in 2013 to combat the EPP. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Asuncion, Paraguay Aug 28, 2016, 03.44 AM (IST)

Eight soldiers of the Paraguayan army were killed on Saturday in an ambush near capital Asuncion.

Government authorities suspect the attack to be the work of Paraguayan People's Army.

The government said it is investigating the attack, which took place in a rural part of Concepcion, about 450 kilometers north of Asuncion, in an area where the Paraguayan People's Army - known locally by its Spanish initials EPP - is known to operate.

"At about 9am this morning a routine patrol was the object of an attack on a country road in the Arroyito district ... the attackers detonated explosives as the truck passed and then carried out a cowardly armed attack on the wounded soldiers," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas told a local radio station that the manner of the attack - explosive artifacts by a road - was typical of the EPP. "It is very probable that that is what happened," he said.

A small leftist group formed just over a decade ago, the EPP is loosely modeled on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which recently announced a ceasefire after more than fice decades of war.

The security forces who officials said were attacked on Saturday belong to a unit created by the government in 2013 to combat the EPP.

The shadowy organisation sometimes leave pamphlets at the site of attacks. Authorities have not said if anything like that has been found. It has been blamed by authorities for a string of kidnappings, murders and attacks in the remote north of Paraguay, an area of cattle ranches, poor rural laborers, and illegal marijuana plantations.

Its bloodiest attack till date took place in 2013 in which 5 people died. The group is believed to hold three people captive at present - a police agent who has been held for over two years, and two Mennonites or members of a religious sect of European background who have significant dairy farming communities in Paraguay. 

(WION with inputs from Reuters)


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