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Opposition Leaders Murdered in Chiapas, Another Detained

September 7, 1994

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico (AP) _ An opposition political party said one of its leaders was shot and killed Tuesday and another detained in southern Chiapas state.

Both leaders belong to the Democratic Revolutionary Party, whose supporters say their gubernatorial candidate was robbed of victory by fraud in last month’s election.

The killing and detention came a day before mediators were to meet to try to reopen peace talks between the government and Indian rebels who staged a New Year’s Day uprising in the impoverished state.

Roberto Hernandez Paniagua was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on his way to teach school in the southern town of Jaltenango, the Democratic Revolutionary Party said in a statement.

Also Tuesday, Enrique Murias was forcibly detained in Mapastepec, ″presumably by the state judicial police,″ the party said. His whereabouts were unknown.

Police in Chiapas said they knew nothing about the killing or the disappearance.

Party spokesman Francisco Mayo, speaking by telephone from the state capital of Tuxtla Gutierrez, blamed Hernandez’ killing on the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which won elections last month for president and for governor of Chiapas.

Angry citizens in Chiapas prevented a helicopter carrying investigators from the state attorney general’s office from landing. The only road leading to the town was blocked.

″There is a climate of desperation,″ Mayo said.

Democratic Revolutionary supporters have been staging protests throughout the state, accusing PRI of stealing the Aug. 21 election.

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