51 Salvadoran Political Slayings in 2 Months Reported

Associated Press

Politically motivated killings by forces of the extreme left in El Salvador have been averaging more than one every other day in recent weeks, while the operations of rightist death squads appear to have been halted, the State Department said Thursday.

A report to Congress for the period Feb. 1 to March 31 said 51 Salvadorans were killed for political or apparent political reasons. The extreme left claimed responsibility for 32 of these deaths, and the circumstances of the murders of seven others indicated involvement by leftist groups, the report said.

In contrast, it said, none of the killings could be definitely attributed to the extreme right, but there were suspicions of rightist involvement in two of the deaths. Responsibility for the remaining killings was said to be unclear.

According to the report, the level of political violence in El Salvador is lower than at any time since the conflict in that country began in 1980.

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