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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Paraguayan Guerrillas Release Mennonite Teen

ASUNCION The Mennonite teenager being held by the Paraguayan Peoples Army (EPP) has been released and attended a church service on Sunday with his family in the northern town of Rio Verde.

Franz Wiebe was released Saturday night by the EPP, which kidnapped him in July 2016, after his family delivered $50,000 worth of food to two rural communities.

Wiebe, who turned 18 last week, was released at a location about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from Rio Verde, a Mennonite community.

The teenager contacted his family, which informed authorities of his release in the same area where he was abducted by the guerrillas while doing farm work.

Wiebe is in good condition and will receive psychological counseling, said the Joint Task Force, the military unit fighting the EPP.

On Feb. 15, relatives of police officer Edelio Morinigo, who was kidnapped by the EPP in 2014, met with National Police commanders, who assured them that he is alive.

Morinigo, who was abducted in July 2014 while hunting, is the longest-held captive in the EPPs hands.

The EPP offered to exchange the police officer for political prisoners, but the government rejected the deal.

Morinigo was last seen along with Arlan Fick, a 17-year-old kidnapped by the rebels, in a video released by the EPP in October 2014.

Fick was released in December 2014 after spending nine months in captivity.

The EPP is also holding Mennonite farmer Abraham Ferh.

The guerrillas abducted Ferh last year and are demanding $500,000 in ransom for his release.

The EPP has committed has killed about 50 people and kidnapped several others since its founding in 2008, officials said.

 

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