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Guatemalan Lawmakers Seek Protection

April 8, 2006

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) _ Guatemalan lawmakers are considering asking the government for protection, concerned that a congressman shot to death outside his party’s headquarters may have been killed for political motives.

Two assailants on a motorcycle opened fire on Mario Pivaral as he stepped out of the National Union offices to answer a cell phone call, Police Commissioner Edgar Orellana quoted witnesses as saying.

Police were still looking for the killer Friday. Orellana said he has ruled out robbery.

Congressman Raul Robles said National Union members would hold a meeting Monday to discuss asking the government for protection ``because we don’t know who could be the next one.″

Pivaral was the second National Union lawmaker assassinated in two years.

National Union Congressman Hipolito Miralda was killed in 2004 by unidentified assailants as he was leaving his house outside the capital. The crime was never solved.

Pivaral was killed a few blocks from where President Oscar Berger was launching a plan to put 2,400 ex-soldiers on the streets to back up police. Police have been unable to handle a wave of crime carried out by gangs, drug traffickers and kidnappers.

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