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Paraguayan kidnap victims’ family donates cattle

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — The brother of a wealthy rancher abducted in northern Paraguay said Monday that his family is giving 30 cattle to the poor on orders from the kidnappers.

The donation of 10 animals each to three indigenous communities “is a request from the (Paraguayan People’s Army) that we will voluntarily honor,” Diego Zavala said in the capital, Asuncion.

Zavala’s older brother, Fidel, was kidnapped Oct. 15 by the guerrilla group, known as the EPP for its initials in Spanish. It has demanded $5 million for his release, purportedly to finance what the band calls a revolutionary movement for the poor.

Diego Zavala also repeated the family’s previous demands that security forces call off their search for his brother, saying it is hampering negotiations.

Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola responded that the government is not endangering the kidnap victim and agents will not end their search.

“We will not yield to any criminal organization,” Filizzola said. “The EPP has a playbook and these latest demands are part of its plan to supposedly win the sympathy of the neediest people.”

The EPP, linked to several bank robberies and other kidnappings in the past decade, expresses political goals in pamphlets and statements delivered to local journalists.

But the government says there is little evidence of any guiding ideology among its members. Filizzola called the EPP’s latest demand an insult and extortion.