Paraguay Rebels Attack Electric Tower, Suggesting Shift in Tactics

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In an alarming sign that they could be expanding their repertoire to include attacks on infrastructure, Paraguay’s EPP guerrilla group damaged an electric tower in the northern department of Concepcion.

Over the weekend, the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) damaged an electric tower outside Horqueta, Concepcion, using a homemade explosive device. According to Carlos Heisele, president of the National Electricity Administration (ANDE), this is the first time the small guerrilla group has carried out an attack on electricity facilities in Paraguay. Despite the damage to the tower, authorities said the flow of electricity was not interrupted.

InSight Crime Analysis

The decision to target an electric tower is unusual for the EPP, as the rebel group is better known for attacks on security forces, journalists and landowners than on the country’s infrastructure. Of course, it is too early to tell if this incident marks a shift in strategy for the EPP, but it is cause for concern. As InSight Crime has reported, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — which is believe to be in contact with the EPP — routinely use attacks on Colombian infrastructure both to disrupt economic activity and to display their strength. 

In recent years the EPP has stepped up violent attacks while avoiding repeated security crackdowns in their area of influence. If it is the case that the rebels are setting their sights on infrastructure targets, it could be the latest sign that the guerrillas are growing bolder and more organized, which does not bode well for the Paraguayan government.

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