[IWAR] MEXICO brutal attack

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Tue Dec 23 1997 - 14:06:27 PST

  • Next message: Hayden Peake: "RE: [IWAR] EURO world spy system (fwd)"

                     Gunmen massacre at least 42 in Mexican village
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press
       ACTEAL, Mexico (December 23, 1997 3:42 p.m. EST http://www.nando.net) --
       Scores of gunmen walked into this village and opened fire with AK-47s,
       pursuing those who got away down a mountainside, witnesses said Tuesday.
       At least 42 people were killed.
       The attack Monday was the bloodiest in Chiapas state since 135 people
       died in the Zapatista uprising in 1994. It occurred in an area where
       pro-government and pro-rebel groups have been fighting for power for
       The victims included 15 children, and the Red Cross said some of those
       killed had been hacked with machetes.
       Witnesses said they recognized some of the attackers as members of local
       factions of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, from
       surrounding villages.
       Juan Vazquez Luna, a 15-year-old supporter of the rebels in Acteal, said
       he was praying in the clapboard church Monday when he heard the first
       shots. He said he went outside to find about 70 men firing AK-47s.
       Along with many of the other 900 people in this highlands village, he
       fled down a steep mountainside toward the river, where shallow caves
       offered some protection.
       But the gunmen followed, and most of the victims were killed along the
       river banks, Juan said. He said his mother, father and four sisters were
       killed. Three other siblings were wounded.
       Chiapas Gov. Julio Cesar Ruiz, a PRI member, ordered "an immediate and
       profound investigation" and promised "to apply all the rigor of the law
       to those guilty."
       But top officials said Tuesday they had no details of the attack.
       "These are not moments to fall into accusations, but to act firmly to
       clarify this criminal, irrational and unacceptable act," Ruiz said in a
       Zapatista sympathizers have long accused Ruiz' government of supporting
       paramilitary groups in Chenalho, a claim his administration has denied.
       Since the 1994 uprising, many of the Indian peasants in this area have
       split into factions that align themselves with, and receive backing and
       weapons from, either the PRI-led government or the rebels and their
       leftists supporters.
       The split has a religious component as well. Many of the government
       supporters are Protestants; most of the rebel supporters are Roman
       Catholics who follow liberation theology, a social justice movement
       within the Catholic church.
       Mauricio Rosas, director of the Red Cross office in San Cristobal, told
       the Mexico City radio station Formato 21 that the 42 victims included 21
       women, six men, 14 children and an infant.
       He said the bodies -- which were taken Tuesday to San Cristobal, 12
       miles to the south -- showed signs of being shot and hacked to death
       with machetes.
       A state police commander in Acteal, who refused to give his name, said
       he counted 45 bodies on Monday.
       Witnesses also said there was an attack in the nearby village of
       The victims were members of the peasant group Las Abejas, which
       sympathizes with the Zapatista rebels. In 1995, the rebels set up their
       own government for Chenalho county based in the nearby town of Polho. It
       is in competition with the officially recognized local government, run
       by the PRI.
       The party's national president, Mariano Palacios Alcocer, rushed to
       distance the PRI from the attack, saying: "The PRI rejects violence in
       all its forms."
       Clashes between supporters of the local government and the Institutional
       Revolutionary Party have raged for seven months, killing 30 Tzotzil
       Indian peasants and leaving nearly 7,000 homeless.
       "It's an incomprehensible situation in which we have not been able to
       stop the violence," Roman Catholic Bishop Samuel Ruiz told XEWM radio in
       San Cristobal.
       At least 300 people have died in similar clashes in Chiapas state since
       the 1994 uprising -- by some estimates, 600. Tens of thousands of state
       police and federal troops have been unable to calm tensions. In some
       cases, human rights workers have accused police of siding with the
       ruling party-affiliated peasants who have attacked rebel supporters.
       Peace talks between the rebels and the federal government broke down
       more than a year ago, with the rebels accusing the government of
       stalling on the implementation of a partial accord signed in February
       Human rights and Roman Catholic church organizations have called for the
       renewal of peace talks as a way of stemming the violence.
       By TRINA KLEIST, The Associated Press

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Apr 13 2001 - 12:57:46 PDT