A clash between armed men in rebel uniforms and villagers loyal to the government killed four people and wounded at least nine others, news reports said Tuesday.
The burst of violence Monday came as leaders of the Zapatista rebel movement and government representatives were announcing they will meet in 10 days for preparatory talks on a new round of peace negotiations.
Neither rebel representatives nor the mediation commission led by Roman Catholic Bishop Samuel Ruiz commented Tuesday on the clash.
Media reported that a column of several dozen armed men dressed in uniforms like those used by the Zapatista National Liberation Army entered the remote village of Bademia on horseback early Monday.
Humberto Velasco, a municipal trustee, told the Cuarto Poder newspaper that the villagers, mostly members of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, refused the armed men’s demands to join their group.
Villagers told reporters that the men wore brown long-sleeved shirts, olive green slacks and ski masks like those used by the rebels. They said the invaders were armed mostly with old hunting rifles or machetes.
It was impossible Tuesday to determine whether the armed men were Zapatistas or another group imitating rebel dress.
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