Cristiani Aide Assassinated in El Salvador

From Reuters

Two gunmen suspected of being rebels killed the closest aide of Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani outside a popular hamburger restaurant today, police and hospital officials said.

They said two assailants riddled a car carrying Jose Francisco Guerrero, Cristiani's personal secretary, with automatic weapons fire as it stopped at a traffic light in the city center.

Guerrero was hit five times in the chest and his driver was injured in the attack, which followed a night of fighting in the capital.

Doctors at Social Security Hospital said Guerrero died in the emergency room with a bullet through the heart.

Guerrero was one of the chief ideologues of Cristiani's Nationalist Republican Alliance Party (ARENA), which has been linked in the past to thousands of death squad killings.

Cristiani's home came under a fierce rebel assault at the start of a guerrilla offensive here two weeks ago.

Police at the scene of the assassination this morning said one of the two suspected rebel gunmen fled on foot after the attack. The second, a man of about 30 and dressed in civilian clothes, was gunned down by Guerrero's bodyguards.

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