The following by Associated Press writer Alejandro
Ruiz reports on what happened in El Bosque on June 10, 1998.
By ALEJANDRO RUIZ
The Associated Press
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico (AP) - In the two years that the
peace process has been frozen, the war in Chiapas essentially has been
carried out by proxy: Zapatista rebels and government troops haven't fought,
supporters repeatedly have clashed.
That changed Wednesday when government forces tried to retake control
Bosque, a municipality 25 miles north of San Cristobal that is sympathetic
Nine people were killed including six fighters believed to be Zapatistas
one police officer. No information was available about the other two
whose deaths were announced late Wednesday by Gov. Roberto Albores
Earlier, nine people were reported injured, including seven police officers.
Fifty-two people were arrested.
It was one of the deadliest clashes since Zapatista rebels launched
uprising in January 1994 in the name of Indian rights and greater democracy.
A partial peace accord was signed in 1996, but peace talks have broken
and tension has been rising. Supporters of both the Zapatistas and
government repeatedly have attacked one another. In December, pro-government
paramilitaries killed 45 people in Acteal, a hamlet of Zapatista supporters.
In recent months, the government has stepped up pressure. It has expelled
foreigners seen as sympathizing with Zapatistas, accusing them of meddling
It also has raided self-declared rebel municipalities - largely symbolic
parallel governments set up by Zapatista supporters. Those raids hadn't
resulted in any deaths - until Wednesday's fighting in El Bosque.
Zapatista sympathizers had set up a rebel town council there 2 1/2 years
Members of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party had their own
at a house nearby and the two appeared to coexist peacefully.
The state government said in a statement the raid was intended to capture
criminal suspects and restore order to the area following violence
Zapatista supporters said in a statement that security forces entered
communities in the municipality, Union Progreso and Chabajebal, firing
destroying houses and chasing after villagers. The government said
were responding to shots fired against them.
Most of the fighting was in Chabajebal, where police said fighters wearing
ski masks used by Zapatista rebels opened fire on them with automatic
weapons, killing one officer and wounding four. The six presumed rebels
killed in Chabajebal. The government said five of them wore military-style
uniforms similar to those of the Zapatistas.
By late Wednesday, officials said the communities were under government
Thanks to AP for the fair educational use of this