Page last updated at 14:13 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 15:13 UK

Guatemala massacre suspect arrested in Florida

Guatemalans rebury massacre victim
Thousands of Guatemalans were killed by the army during the 36-year conflict

A former Guatemalan soldier accused of involvement in a notorious massacre in the 1980s has been arrested in the United States.

Gilberto Jordan, 54, was detained on Wednesday in South Florida.

Prosecutors say he failed to disclose his Guatemalan military record when he applied for US citizenship.

He is accused of taking part in the massacre of at least 250 civilians in 1982, during a conflict between the troops and left-wing rebels.

A criminal case filed against Mr Jordan alleges he was part of a Guatemalan special forces unit, known as the Kaibiles, who slaughtered men, women and children in the village of Dos Erres.

'Dark moment'

It says the soldiers systematically murdered their victims by shooting them, hitting them on the head with a hammer, or throwing them alive into a well.

Many of the women and girls were raped before they were killed.

Prosecutors say Mr Jordan has admitted to federal agents that he had thrown a baby into the well and taken part in other killings at Dos Erres.

He is likely to be prosecuted for immigration violations, but it is not clear if he will eventually be charged over the mass killings.

Two other former Guatemalan soldiers accused of involvement in the massacre are also being sought in the US, according to officials.

"The massacre at Dos Erres was a dark moment for the Guatemalan people, and we will not allow suspected perpetrators to escape justice by taking refuge in our cities and towns," said prosecutor Wilfred A Ferrer.

In 2000, the Guatemalan government acknowledged responsibility for the killings, and promised to compensate the victims families.

The massacre at Dos Erres was one of the most deadly incidents in the 36-year conflict between the Guatemalan army and left-wing guerrillas, which ended with a peace accord in 1996.

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