November 19, 2001

Children missing in Guatemalan civil war reunited with parents

                 GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Two Indian children snatched by paramilitary
                 patrols at the height of Guatemala's bitter civil war in 1982 have finally been
                 found and reunited with their families, activists announced Monday.

                 Thousands of children are believed to have been kidnapped or given out for
                 adoption during the 36-year civil war, in which 200,000 Guatemalans and died and
                 which ended with 1996 peace accords.

                 At least 5,000 remain missing, and several activist groups are trying to reunite

                 "The search for children who disappeared is beginning to yield fruit," said Marco
                 Garavito, director of the civic group All Together for Search and Reunion.

                 Eight-year-old Jose Cedillo Raymundo got separated from his family in 1982 when
                 the members of his village fled advancing army troops.

                 But in August, with the help of the government's National Commission on the
                 Search for The Missing, Jose was found living with an adoptive family near his
                 home town of Ixchil, in central Guatemala.

                 On November 11, Jose with reunited with his mother, Feliciana, in the Quiche
                 Maya Indian town of Nebaj, about 75 miles (120 kms) northwest of Guatemala

                 "They held a traditional Maya ceremony of asking forgiveness," said Garavito, "At
                 the end , Jose approached his mother, showed her his newborn daughter and the
                 two of them broke into tears and hugged each other," Garavito said.

                 Julia Choc Lopez, a Quiche Indian, was five years old when she was snatched in
                 1982 in the village of Uspatan by a paramilitary patrol participating in a government
                 counterinsurgency campaign against leftist rebels.

                 One of the patrol members adopted her into his Kekchi family. But last month, Julia
                 met her real father for the first time: Tomas Choc, 54.

                 In 2000, 2000, Tomas Choc went to authorities looking for his daughter, and on
                 October 28, they finally met.

                 "We have to do this, to heal the deep wounds caused by the war," Garavito said.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.