ASUNCION, (Reuters) – Paraguay’s Congress granted police and the military special powers yesterday to crack down on an armed left-wing group accused of several kidnappings and attacks on police stations.
The emergency measures, which will apply for 60 days in the northern provinces of San Pedro and Concepcion, allow the government to order police as well as soldiers to arrest suspects without warrants.
Leftist President Fernando Lugo is under growing pressure to close the net on the Paraguayan People’s Army, which is thought to have about 100 members.
“We’re going to provide the tools so the government can put an end to this, and if they don’t put an end to it, we’re going to start an impeachment process against the president,” said opposition lawmaker Oscar Tuma.
Paraguay’s lower house gave final approval to a bill that was passed by the Senate late last month, days after officials blamed the Paraguayan People’s Army for gunning down two police officers in Concepcion province.
Last year, Lugo dispatched extra police and troops to remote areas bordering Brazil and Bolivia to track down members of the group, who have been linked to Colombia’s FARC guerrillas.