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Military Leader Charges Ousted Generals with Smear Campaign

November 1, 1996

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ A military leader who helped force the retirement of more than a third of the country’s generals charged the ousted officials Thursday with reviving a murder allegation against him.

Lt. Gen. Juan Bautista Rojas Tabar denied that he ordered the execution of outspoken journalist Narcizo Gonzalez in 1994.

``I had nothing whatsoever to do with that,″ said Rojas Tobar, the new armed forces secretary.

Rojas Tobar, 44, is from a younger generation of officers who say the forces are top-heavy with generals who were handed jobs through political favoritism by former veteran President Joaquin Balaguer.

Rojas Tobar said the 24 generals who retired Monday, and other top officers still in the armed forces, revived the allegations about the murder of Gonzalez, which were broadcast Thursday by at least one television station.

None of the generals has publicly backed the allegation, previously made by Gonzalez’s widow, Altagracia Ramirez, and some opposition politicians.

None of the generals responded to Rojas Tabar’s allegation Thursday.

Rojas Tobar went to the office of Attorney General Abel Rodriguez del Orbe on Thursday and demanded that his name be cleared. Rodriguez del Orbe refused to respond publicly.

Rojas Tabar also challenged President Leonel Fernandez, who took office in August, to choose between the generals and him.

``Either they go, or I do!″ he threatened during a televised news conference.

Fernandez met with Rojas Tobar and other top military officials to discuss the situation. They refused to comment after the meeting.

On Wednesday, hundreds of protesting university students demanded a government investigation into Gonzalez’s slaying.

The journalist was last seen outside the air force headquarters on May 24, 1994, family members said. Rojas Tabar was head of the air force at the time.

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