ASUNCION – President Horacio Cartes traveled on Sunday to the area in northern Paraguay where eight soldiers from the Joint Task Force, the military unit fighting the Paraguayan People’s Army, or EPP, guerrilla group, were killed earlier this weekend.
The Joint Task Force troops were killed in an attack staged by the EPP on Saturday.
Cartes met amid tight security with task force commanders in Horqueta, a district in Concepcion province, telling the officers that he was committed to ending the insurgency.
“I’m in the front lines here ... We have to turn this pain into actions,” said Cartes, who was accompanied by Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas and top National Police commanders.
The Joint Task Force soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb detonated by the rebels as their vehicle traveled on a rural road in Arroyito, located in Horqueta.
The EPP guerrillas opened fire on the soldiers after the explosion, hauling away weapons and ammunition from the army vehicle.
Cartes was returning to Paraguay from an official visit to Mexico when the attack occurred.
The president arrived on Saturday night at the airport in Asuncion, where he read a statement in which he vowed to put an end to terrorism in Paraguay before leaving office in 2018.
The Joint Task Force created in 2013 to fight the EPP, which the government blames for carrying out about 50 assassinations since its creation in 2008.
The guerrilla group is holding three people – a police officer and two Mennonite farmers – captive.