Alleged Death Squad On Trial in Guatemala

October 22, 2004

GUATEMALA CITY (AFP) – ACriminal Court in Guatemala this weekopened a case against six former paramilitariesaccused of having participated in a1982 massacre of 143 villagers in thehamlet of Río Negro, 200 kilometersnorth of the capital.According to survivors of the massacre,the paramilitary group – known inGuatemala as Civil Self-Defense Patrols(or PACs) – was taking orders from theGuatemalan Army, which accused thevillagers of supporting the left-wingguerrillas. Retired Col. José Solares, whocommanded the military forces in thenorthern region of Rabinal at the time,and three others implicated in the crimedisappeared more than two years ago andare considered fugitives of justice.

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