Does EPP’s use of Explosives in Murder Mark New Phase for the Rebels?

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Paragay’s EPP rebel army killed a suspected police informant, later decapitating her with an explosive device, a sign that some say points to the group’s entering a new phase as a guerrilla force.

On September 4, two alleged members of the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) arrived at the house of Eusebia Maiz in the eastern province of Concepcion, dragged her outside, shot and killed her, reported Ultima Hora. The assassins are believed to have been nephews of Maiz.

Following the shooting, the two men reportedly placed an explosive device around her neck and detonated it, decapitating her.

Ultima Hora notes that the use of explosives marks the utilization of new, more violent methods by the EPP, ones often seen used by groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA).

The motive of the attack remains unknown though officials believe that it could be a revenge killing. According to police, Maiz provided logistical support for the EPP but later became a police informant.

InSight Crime Analysis

Ultima Noticia points to the lack of explosives in two other supposed revenge assassinations in 2010 and 2011 as evidence that the EPP — an army of some 50 fighters — may be entering a new phase in its history. However, there is reason to question the significance of this event.

For one, as this InSight Crime map shows, the EPP have carried out numerous bombings in Concepcion province alone since 2005. Though many have been related to extortion or used as a means to threaten the population rather than brutalize people, the attacks show that the guerrillas’ access to explosives is nothing new.

Secondly, the highly personal nature of this attack and its links to supposed betrayal point more to an isolated incident rather than the EPP instituting an organization-wide policy to terrorize the population with increasingly violent tactics. The rebels have been stepping up attacks this year it seems but this has been focused on making social demands of local big-business such as demanding they supply doctors, food and money to communities in an effort to improve their revolutionary credentials.

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