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Former Salvadoran Rebel Leader Assassinated

October 31, 1993

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) _ Unidentified gunmen killed a former leftist guerrilla commander on Saturday, the second ex-rebel commander killed this week.

Hernan Heleno Castro, 36, was killed on the El Litoral highway in Santa Cruz Porrillo, in the central province of San Vicente, said officials with the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN.

During the 12-year civil war, Castro was a senior rebel commander known as Comandante Carmelo.

The FMLN became a political party after the war ended. Castro was a member of the party’s National Council and oversaw its Agrarian Commission.

Authorities said that Castro was shot three times and that his body was found in his car on the highway.

FMLN spokesmen said that Carmelo was driving to the community of Tierra Blanca in the eastern province of Usulutan, where he had been a commander during the war, to ″meet with a group of peasants about some of their agrarian problems.″

The FMLN said it would call an emergency meeting of its Political Committee to discuss how members could protect themselves.

″The Front is worried because in less than a week two of our principal directors have been assassinated,″ said Juan Ramon Medrano, a member of the FMLN directorate.

On Monday, gunmen killed former rebel commander Francisco Velis as he took his 1-year-old daughter to nursery school in the Salvadoran capital.

The Salvadoran civil war ended on Feb. 1, 1992, under peace accords brokered by the United Nations. More than 75,000 people were killed during the FMLN’s 12-year war with a series of rightist U.S.-backed governments.

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