Members of an obscure rebel group have killed eight soldiers in Paraguay just days after leftist guerrillas and Colombia reached an historic peace deal. The government has vowed to stamp out 'terrorists.'
The little-known Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) attacked a military patrol and stole weapons in a brazen assault that left eight soldiers dead, Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas has announced.
The attack was carried out against troops near Horqueta, about 420 kilometers (291 miles) north of the capital Asuncion.
"At about 9 a.m. (Saturday) a routine patrol was the object of an attack on a country road in the Arroyito district ... the attackers detonated explosives as the truck passed and then carried out a cowardly armed attack on the wounded soldiers," the ministry said in a statement.
Federico Delfino, Paraguay's chief prosecutor for anti-kidnapping efforts, said the attackers stole eight US-made M4 rifles, body armor and the victims' personal belongings.
The EPP sometimes leave pamphlets at the site of attacks but authorities did not say whether any rebel literature was found.
President Horacio Cartes vowed to "personally lead the fight against these terrorists."
The EPP is a small leftist group formed just over a decade ago. It was modeled after Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) which this month finalized a peace agreement after years of negotiations.
The EPP has been blamed by for a string of kidnappings, murders and attacks in the remote north of Paraguay, an area of cattle ranches, poor rural laborers and illicit marijuana plantations.
In 2013 it killed five people in an attack which was its bloodiest until Saturday's raid.
jar/jm (Reuters, AP, dpa)