ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — Eight soldiers were killed in an attack in Paraguay’s north by suspected members of a little-known rebels group, authorities said Saturday, just days after Colombian officials and guerrillas reached a peace deal to end the longest running insurgency in Latin America.
Paraguayan Interior Minister Francisco De Vargas reported the first five deaths from the Saturday attack in Arroyito, a town about 305 miles (490 kilometers) from Asuncion. Dr. Bernardo Jacquet, a physician at Hospital Concepcion, located some 55 miles (90 kilometers) from where the attack occurred, later said that the death toll had risen to eight.
Authorities suspect the attack was carried out by a little-known Paraguayan guerrilla group called the Paraguayan People’s Army.
Federico Delfino, the country’s prosecutor for anti-kidnapping efforts, says that the attackers got away with eight M4 carbines, bulletproof vests, and the victims’ personal belongings.
The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, on Wednesday announced the finalization of a peace agreement after more than four years of grueling negotiations in Cuba. A cease-fire in the Colombian conflict that lasted more than a half-century will take effect at midnight next Monday.
The Paraguayan government considers members of the Paraguayan People’s Army to be terrorists under an anti-terrorism law.
The Paraguayan People’s Army was blamed last year in the killing of a German couple. Their bodies were found after the rebels abducted the pair from their cattle farm and demanded that the owner of a farm pay $300,000 and give food to the poor.