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Duarte Representative, Three Others Killed by Gunman

January 7, 1985

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) _ A member of a rightist political party shot and killed a personal representative of President Jose Napoleon Duarte and three villagers, an official of Duarte’s Christian Democratic Party said Sunday.

The assailant opened fire on Pedro Rene Yanes, one of Duarte’s three political troubleshooters, as Yanes stepped into a street in Concepcion de Oriente Saturday night to buy a soft drink, said Amilcar Velasquez.

Yanes was visting the village, 130 miles northeast of San Salvador, to participate in a local festival on the eve of the Epiphany holiday, he said. Velasquez said he had been with Yanes in Concepcion de Oriente for the festival.

The gunmen also killed three villagers and wounded two others before he was shot by one of Yanes’ bodyguards, Velasquez said. He said he recognized the assailant as Francisco Alfaro, and identified him as a member of the far-right Republican Nationalist Alliance.

Velasquez said that as he was leaving the village he saw Alfaro lying on the ground, apparently near death. The village has no telephones and no further information was available.

A member of the executive committee of the Republican Nationalist Alliance, who spoke on condition that he not be identified, said he had heard of the shooting but could not confirm Velasquez’ account. He said he did not know if Alfaro was a member of the party, but would check the membership list Monday.

Meanwhile, the head of El Salvador’s Roman Catholic Church said continued fighting between government forces and leftist rebels after holiday truces is making the search for a negotiated peace more difficult.

Monsignor Arturo Rivera y Damas, archbishop of San Salvador, said the two three-day cease-fires for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays ″with some few complaints of passing violations, are positive and we believe that these signs should be taken in account and encouraged.″ He spoke in his weekly homily at the Metropolitan Cathedal.

″Pitifully, the continuation of the war continues to hinder the path to peace,″ he said. ″There are those who believe that the route to follow is to impose peace through war and unfortunately there are ill-omened signs of this current.″

Representatives of the government and leftist guerrillas have held two rounds of talks, Oct. 15 and Nov. 30, and may meet again this month. Rivera y Damas and his auxiliary archbishop, Monsignor Gregorio Rosa Chavez, have arranged the peace talks.

Rivera y Damas urged that the talks continue and said the process ″should not be a pretext for returning to the past or to a standard of political partisanship of the left or right.″

The church’s legal aid office reported that in the past week eight civilians were slain, and attributed five of the killings to right-wing death squads. It also said eight soldiers and eight presumed guerrillas were slain in clashes during the week.

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