• Connect with us on Linkedin

Paraguay Lauds Heavy Blow to EPP After Leader's Killing

The body of Bernardo Bernal Maiz, alias "Coco" The body of Bernardo Bernal Maiz, alias "Coco"

Security forces in Paraguay have killed a man described as the third in command of the EPP guerrilla organization, a significant blow to the small organization.

Linkedin
Google +

Bernardo Bernal Maiz, alias "Coco," was shot dead in a confrontation with soldiers, after some 15 Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) rebels assaulted a Brazilian owned property in Paso Tuya, in the north Paraguay province of Concepcion, reported ABC. The remaining rebels allegedly kidnapped the son of the people in charge of the estate during their escape, ABC said. 

When the army arrived on the scene, Bernal Maiz shot at two military vehicles, killing a vice sergeant, before being gunned down by security forces, reported ABC. According to Ultima Hora, the EPP members ambushed the vehicles while they were en route to the property. A second EPP member was also killed in the shootout.

Interior Minister Francisco De Vargas said intelligence reports indicated Coco was the EPP's third in command, and called the deaths a "hard hit" on the structure.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the EPP 

Gerardo Sosa, the Concepcion police chief, told Radio Oasis: "'Coco' Maiz is an old member and one of the heads of the criminal group, who commanded the cell located in the Curuzu de Hierro and Azotey regions."

ABC reported he was just 20 years old when he died, making him one of the EPP's youngest leaders.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite the small size of the EPP -- which some have estimated to have under 100 fighters and possibly as few as 20 -- it has long been a major focus of the government, gaining notoriety with the 2004 kidnapping and murder of a Paraguayan president's daughter, though the group was not formally constituted until 2008.

Given the group's small size, Bernal Maiz's death is likely a significant blow to the EPP. Ultima Hora suggested it was the most significant killing of a rebel since 2010. 

He was wanted by authorities alongside his brother Antonio Bernal Maiz for the 2012 murder of their aunt, Eusebia Maiz. The two men allegedly killed her for collaborating with authorities, decapitating her with an explosive after shooting her. Coco also participated in the EPP's most high profile kidnapping, that of rancher Fidel Zavala in 2009, suggesting he has been deeply involved with the group at least since his mid-teens.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

Guatemala Citizens Fight Back Against Expanding Extortion Tactics

Guatemala Citizens Fight Back Against Expanding Extortion Tactics

Authorities in Guatemala have highlighted the range of tactics used by criminals to extort money from businesses, a crime that has become so devastating that locals in one city have organized to put a stop...

Read more

'El Mayo' Rises to Lead a Sinaloa Cartel whose Future Is Uncertain

'El Mayo' Rises to Lead a Sinaloa Cartel whose Future Is Uncertain

The upcoming trial in California of a high-ranking operative from Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel raises questions about the state of the vaunted drug trafficking organization, and whether the one remaining capo can maintain the criminal organization's...

Read more

Mexico Prisoner Origins Insufficient Basis for Anti-Violence Program Placement

Mexico Prisoner Origins Insufficient Basis for Anti-Violence Program Placement

Mexico's Interior Ministry has identified the neighborhoods where most of the country's criminals originate, a strategy aimed at determining where to allocate government anti-violence funding, but one that has some inherent flaws. 

Read more

IDRC9-01