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Guatemala implicates former military officers in terrorism

GUATEMALA CITY -- The Guatemalan defense minister said Friday that former military officers involved in an unsuccessful coup attempt four months ago are involved in terrorist acts that have recently plagued Guatemala.

'The indicators we have show that army officers are implicated in terrorist acts,' Defense Minister Gen. Alejandro Gramajo said.

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The implicated officers are 'the dissidents that failed to overthrow the government on May 9 and who we could not capture, including Col. Francisco Castellanos, Capt. Allan Castellanos Reyes and Lt. Col. Edgar Giovanni Estrada Portillo,' Gramajo said.

A group of military officers tried to overthrow the civilian government of President Vinicio Cerezo on May 9, but loyalist troops put down the aborted coup attempt.

Gramajo said the wave of terrorism that Guatelmala has suffered in recent months has been encouraged by dissident businessmen and 'dissidents from some political parties.'

Human rights organizations and student groups have reported an increasing number of killings, abductions and disappearances in recent months, and the U.S. State Department has issued a traveler's advisory to U.S. citizens not to travel in certain areas of Guatemala.

Cerezo, who took office in January 1986, is Guatemala's first civilian president in 20 years.

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'We have not exactly identified the presence of foreigners in the terrorism. But in the crime wave, elements of South American countries have been identified,' Gramajo said.

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