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Nine Killed in Peruvian Plantation Clash

January 15, 2003

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ A clash between sugar plantation workers and squatters trying to move onto unplanted land in northern Peru Tuesday left at least nine people dead and 14 injured, police said.

Both the workers and the squatters were armed with rifles and machetes, police Capt. Reynaldo Faggiani said by telephone from Cayalti, some 390 miles northwest of Lima.

The confrontation began around 7 a.m. when some 300 armed workers tried to push about 40 squatters off the unused land on the massive plantation near Cayalti in Peru’s Chiclayo region, Faggiani said.

TV news programs showed images of survivors and grieving relatives. Most of the dead suffered head wounds.

``I told him not to go to work because I had a bad dream and he told me not to worry,″ Santos Guevara told reporters as she wept after hearing of her husband Elmer’s death.

Congressman Wilmer Rengifo, president of parliament’s agriculture commission, said that the cooperative plantation had been closed for two years while the owners sought additional investors to resume operations. During that time several groups of squatters had moved onto the land, he said.

Update hourly