Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mexico Offers Amnesty as Troops Hunt Rebels

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mexico Offers Amnesty as Troops Hunt Rebels

Article excerpt

The Mexican army pressed its hunt for the leaders of the Chiapas uprising Friday, while the government offered amnesty for the rebels.

Army troops encountered no opposition as they entered the southern village of Guadalupe Tepeyac, the de facto rebel capital, at midday Friday.

Armored vehicles were moving through Las Margaritas, one of the last towns before entering the sparsely populated mountain area that the rebels claim.

A rebel spokesman warned that the troop movements could lead to open battle, ending a cease-fire that has kept the rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico's poorest region, quiet for the past year.

"This activity makes us once again fearful that war will start again here," said Amado Avendano Figueroa, head of a rebel "alternative" government based in San Cristobal de las Casas.

In what was apparently an attempt to de-glamorize the rebel leader, Mexico's President Ernesto Zedillo announced Thursday that the rebel was really Rafael Sebastian Guillen, 37, a radical son of middle-class parents who own a chain of furniture stores. …

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