ASUNCION, Paraguay — Paraguay’s military and police have killed three members of a leftist guerrilla band that kidnapped a former vice-president, officials said Saturday.
The clash with elements of the small Paraguayan People’s Army occurred Friday in the northern province of Concepcion near the Brazilian border, according to the national prosecutor’s office.
The guerrilla group kidnapped former Vice-President Óscar Denis on Sept. 9. It has demanded that officials release two of its members who are imprisoned for earlier kidnappings and that Denis’ family make food donations to 40 villages.
Denis, 74, a former senator and governor, served as vice-president for more than a year following the impéachment and ouster of of President Fernando Lugo in 2012.
Days before his abduction, troops and police raided a guerrilla camp and two girls, reportedly Argentine residents related to the group’s leader, were killed.
The rebel band operates largely in the forested northern regions of San Pedro and Concepcion. Officials blame the group and its offshoots for the deaths of at least 21 soldiers, 13 police officers and 28 civilians since 2008.
A police officer kidnapped in 2014 and a rancher taken in 2016 remain missing.
The group, itself an offshoot of a small left-wing political party, has called for land reform and has sometimes denounced mechanized agriculture.
The Associated Press