Thursday, April 24, 2003 - Daily news and summary
Caracas, February 24, 2003

Several thousands of shot impacts and hundreds of shells were
found in the site where the bodies were found
(Photo: Fernado Sánchez)
Venezuela's internal security service allegedly linked to killing of
three soldiers and a protester


Three dissident soldiers and a protester found dead last weekend in
the outskirts of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas were killed at a
shooting ground where special forces of the Directorate for
Intelligence, Security, and Prevention (Disip) practice target

A series of circumstantial evidences have led authorities to believe
that officers of Disip -Venezuela's internal security service- may
be involved in the killings.

Witnesses at Plaza Altamira, where soldiers lived since they
declared in disobedience against President Hugo Chávez' government,
said the victims were kidnapped by commandos in two four-wheel drive
vehicles similar to those used by Disip officers.

As to the girl that survived to the slaughter, Roxana Caterina
Rivero, officials investigating the killings said that she was not
wounded in the head. The girl was hit in the head with a shotgun
stock, but she pretended she had been shot to avoid being killed.

Meanwhile, Liliana Ortega, Director of COFAVIC, a respected
Caracas-based nongovernmental organization that promotes and
protects human rights, said a thorough and responsible investigation
has to be conducted. "The State has to launch an independent and
detailed investigation leading to the conviction of the offenders."

According to Ortega, some hasty conclusions issued on the case are a
bad signal. She asked the government and authorities to determine if
the killings were politically motivated.

"So far there has been no result from inquiries concerning around 50
political crimes in the country. We reject the fact that authorities
investigating the facts are giving early opinion on the events. We
ask the Ombudsman's Office and the Public Prosecutor's Office to
step in and ensure the proper investigations -in accordance with
international treaties- are conducted."