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Mexican Soldiers Intimidate Villagers

Mon., Jan. 9, 1995

Mexican soldiers are intimidating villagers near rebel territory in southern Mexico, threatening chances to end the year-old uprising, says an independent commission.

In one village, 500 soldiers are stationed alongside 600 villagers, the group said. In another, soldiers forced farmers to sign out to work in their fields and limited the time they can work.

“The conduct of the army not only contradicts the declarations of the government that it is seeking dialogue and peace, but … increases the climate of tension and the possibilities of an armed confrontation,” said a statement issued Saturday by the Plural Observation Group for Peace in Chiapas.

The army advanced in late December, taking over positions given up by rebels who withdrew after sneaking past soldiers Dec. 19 and taking over 38 villages. A truce has been in effect since then.

The following fields overflowed: DATELINE = SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, MEXICO

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