- Title: PARAGUAY: Police find abandoned leftist rebel camp in Concepcion
- Date: 23rd June 2010
- Summary: VARIOUS OF PHOTOS OF GUERRILLAS FOUND AT CAMP
- Embargoed: 8th July 2010 13:00
- Location: Paraguay
- Country: Paraguay
- Topics: Police,War / Fighting
- Reuters ID: LVA3WA9EBCKVJNN0MC5BH43ABYRX
- Story Text: Paraguay released on Tuesday (June 22) a manifesto apparently offering a ransom for President Fernando Lugo that authorities say was found at an abandoned rebel camp late last week.
Lugo's government has sent troops to the far-flung areas of Paraguay to fight against leftist guerrillas from the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP), a group blamed for several kidnappings, murders, and raids on police stations.
Authorities released a video they said they found at the camp that showed the guerrillas, including one of the group's leaders Magna Meza, sewing fatigues for rebels.
Also found at the camp was a piece of paper offering $1000 for anyone who turned over Lugo or other government officials to the rebels.
Back in Asuncion, Lugo's Secretary General Miguel Lopez Perito said the evidence proved the government had no ties to the rebels after rumors circulated the leftist Lugo was linked to the EPP.
"It is clear that not only is this government not involved, but it has taken on this group with consistency and coherence," Perito said of the EPP, who are allegedly connected to Colombia's FARC guerrillas.
Police found the camp last Thursday (June 17) in the region of Concepcion.
Carmelo Caballero, Lugo's vice minister of security, said the threats against Lugo weren't anything new.
"The president's safety is in the hands of professionals who will take appropriate measures moment by moment. At any rate, we repeat that we think other messages like this one came before it, so mathematically it has nothing to do with reality. The money they are offering for Lugo is in reality the money that is offered. We see it as nothing more than a way to call attention," he said.
Part of the manifesto railed against the United States, calling the country 'the enemy of mankind.' The news prompted the U.S. to back out of a humanitarian mission to the area that was planned to start next week.
"The decision the U.S. made is absolutely correct: to not risk their people in a situation where there is no control," said political analyst Horacio Galeano.
Last week, two police officers were killed in clashes with armed rebels.
The EPP is armed left-wing group whose members possess sophisticated weapons and are trained to operate in jungle areas.
Police and government officials say the group has about 100 members and is active in marijuana-growing areas of Paraguay, which is an important regional supplier of the drug.
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