Activist, wife, slain in Honduras


Tegucigalpa : The vice president of a group representing landless peasants in the Caribbean province of Colon was murdered along with his wife, a senior Honduran police officer said.

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The Muca organization’s Pedro Salgado and spouse Reina Mejia were slain Sunday night at their home in the Aguan Valley, according to Julio Espinal, commander of a contingent of some 600 police and soldiers deployed to the region last week amid continuing violent disputes over land.

Around 40 peasants and private security guards have been killed in the Aguan Valley over the past three years.

Espinal told reporters that authorities do not know the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Salgado and his wife in La Concepcion, a community about 12 km from the town of Tocoa.

Authorities found shell casings from a 9 mm pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle in the Salgado home.

The double-murder came a day after unknown assailants murdered in Tocoa the president of another Aguan peasants group, Marca, and wounded the organization’s treasurer.

Secundino Ruiz and Eliseo Pavon came out of a bank in Tocoa after withdrawing a sizable sum of money to pay employees of their cooperative when they were attacked by unknown masked gunmen riding on a motorcycle, police said.

Ruiz was killed and Pavon suffered a head wound.

Two weeks ago, six employees of a farm owned by agribusiness tycoon Miguel Facusse were riddled with bullets in an ambush, while another five people – three men who worked for a soft drink bottling company and two women who were with them – were murdered near Tocoa.