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Two More Suspects Arrested in Honduras Bus Attack

By Freddy Cuevas
Associated Press
Sunday, December 26, 2004; Page A28

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Dec. 25 -- Authorities on Saturday announced the arrest of two additional suspects in an attack on a bus that killed 28 passengers and wounded 14, while thousands of soldiers searched for other gunmen and families buried the victims.

Six children and 22 adults died Thursday when suspected gang members wielding assault rifles ambushed a bus in the northern city of San Pedro Sula.

The attack on the commuters and Christmas shoppers stunned a country known for lawlessness and has made the government's anti-crime campaign resemble an open war between street gangs and authorities.

Services for the victims were held under sunny skies on Christmas day, as about 2,000 soldiers combed the slums and outskirts of San Pedro Sula for those responsible.

Alexis Ramirez, 23, a suspected gang member, was arrested in San Pedro Sula shortly after the attack while driving a car in which police found two assault rifles, two pistols and ammunition, officials said.

Authorities said Saturday that two suspected gang members arrested in Cofradia, about 10 miles east of San Pedro, have been linked to the attack.

"We are not revealing more details for the moment to avoid interfering with the investigations," said Oscar Alvarez, the Honduran security minister. He said investigators had solid leads to help "clear up the killings."

Wilmer Torres, a deputy police commissioner, said Ramirez is a member of the Mara Salvatrucha, a ruthless youth gang known for committing shock killings, and that the car he drove resembled a vehicle seen at the scene of the attack.

In a message left on the bus windshield Thursday, the gunmen claimed to be part of a revolutionary group opposed to the death penalty, one of the main campaign issues in next year's presidential campaign.

The message also threatened the president of Congress, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, who supports the death penalty.

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