German couple killed in Paraguay by guerrilla kidnappers | News | DW | 30.01.2015
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German couple killed in Paraguay by guerrilla kidnappers

A German couple has been found dead on a cattle farm in northern Paraguay. Members of a guerrilla group are alleged to have kidnapped and murdered the German ranchers who had lived in Paraguay for 30 years.

Roberto Natto, 60, and Erika Reiser, 53, were found on Thursday with multiple bullet wounds several kilometers from their ranch outside Yby Yau - about 395 kilometers (245 miles) north of the Paraguay capital, Asuncion - after the military exchanged fire with the rebel Paraguayan People's Army (EPP).

The couple was killed around midnight, 10 hours after their abduction on Wednesday, Interior Minister Francisco De Vargas told a news conference on Thursday. Four workers on their farm had also been taken.

According to workers who managed to escape, "The captors wore camouflage uniforms and were apparently directed by Esteban Marin, a member of the criminal Paraguayan People's Army."

Vargas said the couple may have been killed after tangling with the guerrillas, trying to flee or as retaliation for the military intervention.

Frequent attacks

Earlier this week the guerrilla group left a handwritten note at an adjoining farm that read, "Nature is not ours; it's only borrowed from future generations."

The rebels demanded that the owner pay a $300,000 (264,726 euro) "fine" and distribute free beef to several neighboring communities as punishment for alleged deforestation.

The farm's owner, Osvaldo Dominguez Dibb, is a former president of popular Paraguayan football club Olimpia and has stakes in several businesses. The rebel group gave Dibb until February 6 to meet their demands.

The EPP, which began its revolt in 2007 has frequently attacked farms as well as military and police posts and is responsible for some 30 deaths. The rebel group is particularly active in the Conception region, 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Asuncion.

Paraguay says the EPP, which has around 50 members, and a splinter organization called the Armed Peasant Group, smuggle drugs and are linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The bodies of Natto and Reiser were late taken to Asuncion from where they were to be returned to Germany.

ksb/gsw (AP, AFP)