- Title: PARAGUAY: Rebel group demands 30 cattle as ransom to feed poor
- Date: 13th January 2010
- Summary: CONCEPCION, PARAGUAY (JANUARY 12, 2010) (REUTERS) INDIGENOUS PEOPLE APPROACHING TO RECEIVE MEAT INDIGENOUS WOMAN HOLDING CHILD (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) INDIGENOUS LEADER JACINTA PEREIRA SAYING: "As a leader, I ask for God's blessing and hope that the kidnappers can see we are all human beings and on this earth to be free." MEAT BEING HANDED OUT PEOPLE OUTSIDE FENCE ASKING FOR MEAT MEAT HANGING IN HOME
- Embargoed: 28th January 2010 11:02
- Location: Paraguay
- Country: Paraguay
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Social Services / Welfare
- Reuters ID: LVAEKJWIE6IPH5E3NKS4HMH68F6S
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: The family of a Paraguayan cattle farmer kidnapped almost three months ago by leftist guerrillas turned over 30 cows to indigenous communities on Tuesday (January 12) in response to the demands of his kidnappers.
Local newspapers reported the Army of the Paraguayan People (EPP) kidnapped cattle farmer Fidel Zavala 89 days ago and demanded he pass out meat to an indigenous community in Concepcion and to poor communities in the capital Asuncion.
Butchers pulled sides of beef from a refrigerated truck and handed out the meat. Diego Zavala, the brother of kidnapped Fidel, said the beef was a gift from his family as well as from the EPP, a small rebel group that reportedly has ties to the FARC in Colombia.
"It's something we, the family, have done voluntarily, and it's a courtesy of the EPP," he said.
The EPP, reportedly formed in March 2009 with only around 15 members, kidnapped Zavala and demanded the family ask the government to pull police out of the northeastern area of Paraguay where they operate.
The meat was supposed to be delivered with the message 'courtesy of the EPP', but many were thanking the Zavalas.
"We are very thankful to the Zavala family for sending us this gift. We ask God to set this man free because he has kids," said one indigenous woman.
Ten armed men captured Zavala on his ranch in Concepcion on October 15, but reports say he is still alive.
Indigenous leader Jacinto Pereira asked for Zavala's freedom.
"As a leader, I ask for God's blessing and hope that the kidnappers can see we are all human beings and on this earth to be free," he said.
Rafael Filizzola, Paraguay's interior minister, said the government planned to move forward with a police presence in the area despite requests by the guerrilla group.
"To the request made by the EPP through Diego Zavala we said no. And we will continue our planned operations," he said.
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