September 4, 2000

Gunmen attack Guatemalan human rights group

                  GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Assailants wielding machine guns burst into the
                  headquarters of a leading Guatemalan human rights group Monday and
                  threatened to kill the organization's leaders before stealing a truck, computers and

                  Director Aura Elena Farfan said she believes the attack on the Guatemalan
                  Association of Families of the Disappeared and Detained was more than just
                  street crime.

                  The group assists the families of the more than 200,000, mostly Indian peasants
                  who were killed during Guatemala's 36-year civil war. It also is listed as a
                  plaintiff on a criminal complaint filed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta
                  Menchu that charges former military leaders with genocide and state torture, a
                  case being investigated by Spain's National Court.

                  "Those responsible knew the names of some of our most important leaders,"
                  Farfan said. "They didn't seem to be common criminals."

                  The four men robbed everyone in the downtown Guatemala City office and
                  slashed phone lines before making off with the group's truck, four computers, a
                  fax machine and a large number of files, Farfan said.

                  The organization was still cleaning up and would not know for days exactly
                  which files were taken, Farfan said.

                  Farfan said the group had not ruled out its inclusion in the complaint as a
                  possible motive behind the daytime attack. The complaint centers around the
                  1980 arson of the Spanish embassy in Guatemala City in which 37 people died;
                  the death of three Spanish priests in Guatemala; and the slaying of Menchu's
                  family members.

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