Following Kidnappers’ Footsteps

first_img Along with rewards, the president approved an antikidnapping law that allows the government to safeguard the bank funds and belongings of a person who has been kidnapped. It also penalizes banks that do not notify of withdrawals made during the kidnapping. In 2010, an antiterrorism law was also approved that punishes those involved in acts of terrorism, terrorist associations or financing of terrorism with prison terms of five to 30 years. In a recent development, the EPP’s possible drug traffic activity across international borders is beginning to draw attention from Paraguayan authorities. “We — the military as an institution, at least — are already taking a look at their possible association with drug traffickers,” Brig. Gen. Carlos Alberto Bordón, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Paraguayan Armed Forces, said in an interview with Diálogo in August 2010. “And we don’t have any actions prepared along these lines yet, but we are intensifying our work on intelligence issues, connecting the dots, because we don’t want to end up in the situation of other countries.” Paraguay Fights Back Since the beginning of 2010, the government has conducted numerous operations to counter the EPP threat. In January, police partnered with the Paraguayan Army, using helicopters and patrol boats to follow members of the EPP at the country’s northern border in what was known as Operation Yaguarete (which means “jaguar” in the native Guaraní language). Three months later, Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo called for a “state of siege” after a police officer and three civilians were killed in an EPP attack in Arroyito, where authorities discovered a rebel camp. In April, the authorities launched Operation Py’a Guapy (which means “tranquility” in Guaraní) and sent 3,000 police and military to track down EPP members. But these operations did not result in the arrests of any EPP leaders. In July, Paraguayan police had more success in their fight against the EPP. Authorities tracked down and killed suspected EPP leader Severiano Martínez after he opened fire on officers during a confrontation in Alto Paraguay. Martínez, alias Marcos, was accused of involvement in the kidnappings of Bordón and Cubas. He allegedly abandoned the EPP due to disagreements over ransom payments within the group, reported Paraguayan newspaper La Nación. In September, EPP member Gabriel Zárate was captured and killed by the police after firing an M-16 and trying to escape. Zárate was thought to be third in command in the group. In his bag, police found a homemade explosive. A third EPP member was killed the same month. During another incursion in the jungle to track EPP members, police killed Nimio Cardozo. The operation took place in Huguá Ñandú, 100 kilometers northeast of Concepción. The newspaper La Nación reported that police will continue searching in the area until all members are found. The government is now offering 800 million guaranís (about $163,606) for information leading to the capture of leaders Magna Meza, Manuel Cristaldo Mieres and Osvaldo Villalba. The reward is for 500 million guaraníes (about $102,254) for others involved in the kidnappings. Lack of Support The authorities were able to capture EPP leaders with the help of community informants whose identities have been protected to prevent retaliation. In August 2010, Florencio Núñez, a rural worker who denounced the presence of the EPP in his community in Concepcion and who claimed to have received death threats from the group, was found dead at his home, reported Paraguayan newspaper ABC. In the meantime, the EPP has tried to gain the support of the public. For example, the manual says EPP members should provide food and medicine to the poor, making sure the media captures them doing so. “Then we will earn points in the eyes of the population,” the manual states. For those whose family members have been harmed by the EPP, only justice will suffice. Police “should kill them if they cannot capture them alive,” Mirtha Gusinky, mother of Cecilia Cubas, told La Nación, referring to the captors who killed her daughter more than six years ago. She asked authorities to comply with the promise of bringing security to the country. “I also request you, the press, to not give up in the demand of maximum effort from authorities so we can have a Paraguay without kidnappings,” she said. By Dialogo October 01, 2010center_img EPP: A Self-Proclaimed Guerrilla Group The EPP began as the armed front of the political group Partido Patria Libre (Free Motherland Party). The group, based on Marxist ideology, has stated its plan to carry out a revolution in the country. Since 2001, about $6 million in ransom has been paid in Paraguay, said former attorney Latorre to www.infosurhoy.com. That year, the EPP received financing from the FARC to “train” for its first kidnapping, Latorre said. Resisting the kidnappers’ demands has often led to dire consequences such as occurred with Cecilia Cubas, the daughter of former Paraguayan President Raúl Cubas Grau. In 2004, kidnappers from EPP abducted Cubas and demanded $5 million. Months after making a partial payment of $800,000, the body of Cecilia, 32, was found buried under a house near Asuncion. The documents seized in 2008 from Reyes’ computer showed that the terrorist organization provided consulting in the kidnapping and subsequent killing of Cubas. At least three more kidnapping cases have been documented in which the FARC participated. “The links between the FARC and EPP are confirmed. We have proof that the FARC have sent consultants [to Paraguay] and it has been confirmed that they received 30 percent of what was paid for the kidnapping of María Edith Bordón,” Paraguayan anti-kidnapping prosecutor Sandra Quiñónez said in an interview with Colombian newspaper El Tiempo. Bordón was kidnapped in 2001 and her family paid $1 million for her release, the newspaper reported. Fidel Zavala was working on his ranch in northern Paraguay in late 2009 when guerrilla members suddenly appeared and forced him into his own vehicle. As his employees looked on, Zavala was driven away and his truck was abandoned in a remote area. When police later approached it, the vehicle exploded and gravely injured police officers Víctor Hugo Romero and Víctor Manuel Martínez. Kidnappers demanded a $5 million ransom and as days passed, Zavala’s family was not sure whether he was still alive. The abductors were following instructions in the manual of the Paraguayan People’s Army, or EPP, which was behind the kidnapping. The manual stated that EPP’s kidnappers cannot “give any proof of life until the deal is closed.” According to the Paraguayan newspaper La Nación, the abductors settled for a payment of $500,000 and freed Zavala about 15 kilometers north of his ranch, just as the manual stated: “Free [the kidnapping victim] in a remote area, if possible.” EPP members have been accused of carrying out about 20 kidnappings since 2001. The group’s manual, which was found during a police raid in August 2010 in the department of Concepción, was crafted with the help of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, according to www.infolatam.com. “The EPP is linked directly to the FARC,” former Paraguayan Attorney General Óscar Germán Latorre told www.infosurhoy.com. The FARC allegedly has provided training and logistical support to the Paraguayan guerrilla movement according to e-mails retrieved from a computer seized by Colombian authorities in 2008 and thought to be owned by Raúl Reyes, FARC second in command until his death in 2008. As recent news reports show, EPP members have attacked ranches, burned military barracks and killed police officers. Police have tracked down some of the EPP leaders, but others have yet to be found. Aside from the kidnappings, authorities fear the EPP’s involvement with drug and arms trafficking. “This is a group linked to organized crime,” said José Ledesma, governor of San Pedro, one of the areas stricken by the EPP, in an interview with Paraguayan radio station Ñandutí AM in May 2010. Following Kidnappers’ Footsteps paraguayan people’s army linked to drug trafficking and farc Soldiers stand on the scorched remains of a military outpost in Tacuatí, Paraguay. Officials think the arson was the work of the Paraguayan People’s Army. last_img read more

Wenger aims to show title class

first_img “We will absolutely go for this game,” Wenger said. “We haven’t won the title for a few years and people question that now. “At the end of the day, the Premier League will reflect the quality of the performances of the team throughout the season and how well you do in the big games. This is a good opportunity for us to show we are ready.” Wenger is uncertain if the League Cup clash will have an impact on the Premier League and is unconcerned by the opinion of those who believe his side will be overhauled at the top of the standings. “I’m not sure it will affect the Premier League at all, but you know people will look at you, how you behave and whether you can win the big games like that,” Wenger said. “What is for sure is that you want to win these sort of games. “That has a certain psychological influence on the team. “What we want to do is to show that we want to be considered as a very strong team and that comes only with the way we play and with the results, so let’s just focus on that.” The match pits Wenger against old adversary Mourinho for the first time since the Portuguese returned to English football. Wenger endured a difficult relationship with Mourinho during his first spell and the pair last crossed swords in the League Cup in the 2007 final, when the Blues beat a youthful Arsenal. Wenger plans to utilise his squad players in the match. “The team will be a mixture, with some players who are at the moment not getting the games they need and deserve, and also one or two young players,” Wenger said. “I have to get that mixture right.” Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner could make his first Arsenal start since March 2011, but Mathieu Flamini (groin) and Mikel Arteta (suspended) are absent. The Gunners are searching for a first trophy since 2005 and enter the derby at the top of the Premier League standings with a two-point lead over Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. Some have attributed the Gunners’ lead to a favourable fixture list, with the opening day loss to Aston Villa followed by seven wins in an eight-match unbeaten run in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal will bid to show their Barclays Premier League title ambitions are serious in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup showdown with Chelsea. Press Associationlast_img read more

Westhill girls soccer tops Marcellus, falls to CVA in sectional final

first_img Tags: girls soccerMarcellusWesthill In its quest to regain the Section III Class B championship after an early elimination in 2018, the Westhill girls soccer team got through its most historic rival – but fell one victory short of a 15th sectional crown.As it worked out, the no. 3 seed Warriors and Marcellus, the no. 2 seed, would confront each other in the sectional Class B semifinal last Tuesday at Jamesville-DeWitt, and Westhill got the best of it, blanking the Mustangs 1-0.For all the many times occasions these two teams have met in important games over the last three decades, this was the first time since the 2014 final that Westhill and Marcellus would match up late in the sectional tournament. Throughout the second half, any time Mustangs tried to pick up pressure, the Westhill defense pushed them to the sides. Brooke Zollo, Lauren Marshall, Ryan Murphy and the rest of the defense would earn its 12th shutout overall.And now, in the sectional title game Friday night at SUNY-Cortland, Westhill would try and topple top seed Central Valley Academy, who in the other semifinal had rallied from an early deficit to knock off defending champion Holland Patent 2-1.Despite its historical edge, and despite a mid-game surge, the Warriors were unable to deny the Thunder its first-ever sectional championship as CVA won by a 3-1 margin.From the outset, the Thunder found itself on the front foot, making Westhill’s defense work hard. In particular, Murphy had a big task, assigned to the Thunder’s star forward, Reilly Rich, who despite Murphy’s best efforts would prove the game’s most important presence.After crashing a shot off the post in the opening minutes, Rich set up the game’s first goal midway through the first half, her deft pass finding a streaking Jazmyn Gillette up the middle, and Gillette punched a low shot past Lauren Bendall.Not until late in the half did the Warriors’ attack start to hum. Rudnick pushed a hard shot just wide in the 30th minute, and Westhill almost converted again in the last two minutes, so a 1-0 deficit at the break didn’t seem too alarming.Sure enough, less than seven minutes into the second half Erica Gangemi, from the left side, lofted a terrific pass to Lauren Holstein, who converted the tying goal.But just when it looked like the Warriors were ready to take over, CVA regrouped and started to apply the same pressure it did earlier in the game, leading to two decisive blows.With 17:58 left, the Thunder had a free kick from the right side 25 yards out at an odd angle. Here, Rich delivered the biggest goal in her program’s history, a perfect free kick with her left foot that lofted to the top left corner of the net out of Bendall’s reach.And CVA didn’t sit on its 2-1 lead, continuing to push hard until a series of great passes, the last by Claire Schoff, set up freshman Megan Canipe for a deft shot just inside the right post for the clincher.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story center_img Despite the better seed for the Mustangs, it was the Warriors who prevailed 1-0 in overtime when these sides met in September, and the rematch would again feature strong defense on both ends.With the ball kept in its own end for much of the first half, the Marcellus back line, led by Shannon Kellar, Lauren Keyes, Sam Wynne and Maggie Moses, did a terrific job preventing close-up opportunities.As such, Westhill had to produce something special to get a goal. That happened with 39 seconds left in the half as Stephanie Falcone’s well-timed touch pass found Ciarra Rudnick, who flicked a low shot past Elena Shaw.last_img read more