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16 die in Paraguay as police, farmers clash

Press TV – June 16, 2012

Paraguay has deployed troops in a remote northern forest reserve, where at least sixteen people have been killed in a clash between police and landless farmers over a land dispute.

Paraguayan Interior Minister Carlos Filizzola said on Friday that seven police officers and at least nine landless farmers died in the clash in Curuguaty, which is 250 kilometers northeast of Asuncion, earlier in the day, AFP reported.

Another government official said about 80 people had also been injured in the incident, some of them critically.

The clash began when police attempted to forcibly remove peasants from the farm, which is owned by a Colorado Party politician opposed to leftist President Fernando Lugo.

According to some reports, farmers shot at the police trying to oust them from the 4,900-acre (2,000-hectare) reserve.

“The peasants have high-caliber weapons like M16 rifles,” a local police official claimed, adding that some of the farmers “handled weapons very well.”

“They shot cleanly to kill us. This is a critical situation,” the police official said.

The farmers later disappeared into the jungle and police took over the reserve, Interior Ministry official Gregorio Almada said.

The troops, who have been deployed to resolve the contentious issue, have the Interior Ministry’s backing, Almada added.

June 15, 2012 - Posted by | Aletho News | ,

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