Page last updated at 20:39 GMT, Saturday, 24 April 2010 21:39 UK

Paraguay suspends rights in crackdown on rebels

Fernando Lugo
President Fernando Lugo asked for the measures after a police officer and three farm workers were killed

Paraguay has passed a bill imposing a temporary suspension of constitutional rights in parts of the country in a crackdown on violence, it is reported.

The 30-day suspension in parts of the north gives the armed forces greater powers to combat a left-wing group.

The Paraguayan People's Army (PPA) is responsible for killing four people, sources in the country's congress said.

The emergency will allow troops and police to detain suspects and ban public meetings for 30 days.

President Fernando Lugo asked for the measures three days ago after a police officer and three farm workers were killed in an attack on Wednesday.

Investigators in the country claim the rebels belong to the PPA, a small group with suspected links to left-wing rebels in Colombia.

"These fugitives of the Paraguayan People's Party should be captured, because everyone has the right to live in peace," Mr Lugo said as he defended his request for a state of suspension, AFP news agency reported on Saturday.

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