The burning of two homes and a car dealership in the northern town of Ypejhu is connected to a battle between rival criminal outfits based in neighboring Brazil, Paraguayan officials said Wednesday.
The arson was carried out by heavily armed, Portuguese-speaking men who entered Paraguay in five vehicles and returned to Brazil after the assault, Deputy Interior Minister Hugo Sosa said.
“The first hypothesis we are considering is that it is a fight between criminal gangs, mostly from Brazil,” he said.
But National Police second-in-command Eladio Sanabria said that authorities have no information that points to any specific group.
Sanabria said that in one of the homes attacked there were “two women and a minor,” who the assailants interrogated on the whereabouts of a family member, Diego Peralta Alderete, a man wanted in Brazil in connection with a murder.
Paraguay’s president, Mario Abdo Benitez, told reporters after a public event in the central province of Caaguazu that the violence was the work of “organized crime.”
Police said the attackers were armed with long guns and that they detonated some type of “explosive device.”
Sosa said that the police contingent in Ypejhu were pinned down inside the station by gunfire during the assault.