Defense Minister Jose Guillermo Garcia today denied reports that the armed forces have received evidence implicating individuals in the National Guard in the assassination last December of three U.S. nuns and a Catholic lay worker.
Col. Garcia, considered one of the strongmen behind the mixed civilian-military junta ruling the country, made his denial in a hastily convened press conference after CBS News said that an FBI report on evidence in the killings contained the names of six National Guardsmen who were believed to be the slayers. The report was handed over to the Salvadoran government last week.
Last night in Washington, The FBI denied that its report, which it termed an "evaluation," presented any conclusive evidence on the culprits or their identities.
"The report," an FBI spokesman said, "does not refer to suspects, does not point a finger, or name those responsible."
Garcia, flanked by five high-ranking members of the armed forces, including National Guard commander Col. Carlos Vides Casanova, said he had no knowledge of what was in the FBI report.
He said that if the FBI report had indeed been received it was given to a special four-man investigative commission charged by the junta with pursuing the case of the murdered women.
Touching on another subject, Garcia told reporters he "lamented" reports that another U.S. citizen, a Maryknoll priest who came here last week to work as an interpreter for a CBS Chicago television station, has disappeared. The priest, Roy Bourgeois, 38, of Chicago, has been missing since Sunday morning.