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Monday, 14 February, 2000, 00:10 GMT
Mexico urged to stop Chiapas patrols

Column Of Infamy sculpture Column Of Infamy sculpture marks a 1997 massacre


A United Nations expert on indigenous populations has said Mexican troops should suspend their patrols in the troubled southern states of Chiapas and Guerrero in order to promote peace.

The president of the UN working group on indigenous populations, Irene Daesk, said the armed forces should go back to their bases and concentrate on defending Mexico from any external aggression.

Mrs Daesk also called on guerrilla groups that operate in Guerrero and Chiapas to lay down their weapons and "make a peaceful effort toward a dialogue with the government."

Several NGOs had called on the army to stop patrols in Guerrero and Chiapas, where the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) operate.

In January, an appeals court overturned the convictions of more than 20 people accused of carrying out an infamous 1997 massacre in which 45 people were killed for allegedly supporting Zapatista guerrillas.

The Zapatista uprising began in January 1994, when the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army, led by a man known only as "Subcommandante Marcos" declared war on the central government in an effort to gain improved living conditions and better rights for indigenous Indian peasants in the southern Chiapas region.

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See also:
14 Jan 00 |  Americas
Chiapas massacre convictions overturned
20 Jul 99 |  Americas
Villagers jailed for Chiapas massacre
24 Dec 97 |  Background
Mexico's peasant revolt
23 Dec 98 |  Americas
Massacred Mexicans remembered
13 Jan 98 |  Americas
Violence flares at Chiapas massacre protest
28 Dec 97 |  World
Local mayor linked to Chiapas massacre
26 Dec 97 |  Despatches
Mexican villagers flee after massacre

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