ASUNCION – Two police officers died Thursday in a clash with suspected members of the self-styled Army of the Paraguayan People, or EPP, authorities said.
Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola told reporters that one of the officers died at the scene of the clash, the town of Kurusu de Hierro, 500 kilometers (360 miles) north of Asuncion, while the other died en route to a hospital.
“Both (police) belonged to elite … units,” the minister said.
“The operations are continuing and we as a government have made available all the material resources that may be necessary to move forward,” he said.
Filizzola said earlier that the incident occurred in the area where this week police are conducting a large operation to locate members of the EPP, who are suspected of murders and high-profile kidnappings in the northeastern part of the country.
“This morning the Fope group (an elite unit) was performing intelligence activities and they ran across those people. We found a camp in a wooded area,” police commander Cristobal Jara Sosa told radio Ñanduti by telephone from the region where the fighting took place.
The EPP, which has its base in the forested regions of Concepcion province, stands accused of several murders and attacks on ranches and police and military posts.
In one of their latest incursions a police officer and three farm workers were killed, and the government declared on April 24 a 30-day state of emergency in Concepcion, San Pedro and three other provinces, a period that ended without the capture of any EPP ringleaders. EFE