April 30, 1999

Mob storms Guatemala police station, frees paramilitaries

                  GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- More than 400 people stormed a jail in a
                  police station and freed 12 ex-paramilitaries who had been convicted of
                  killing a peasant during Guatemala's civil war, police said.

                  The mob entered the station Friday in Huehuetenango, 80 miles northeast of
                  Guatemala City, beat eight agents and freed the paramilitaries, said police
                  official Carlos Enrique Merida.

                  The 12, former members of the Civil Self-Defense Patrols, were convicted
                  of killing Juan Chanay Pablo in 1993. They were sentenced to 25 years in
                  1998. It was not known why they hadn't been transferred to a regional

                  Merida said the mob probably took the men to their municipality,
                  Colotenango, 18 miles west of Huehuetenango.

                  The paramilitary group was formed in 1981 to assist the army in fight a civil
                  war against leftist guerrillas. They were demobilized in 1996 under the peace
                  process that ended the 36-year war.