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New Killings Enrage Women of Juarez

by The Philadelphia Enquirer/Julie watson A.P. Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2002 at 4:37 AM
Paul Hays (404) 377-9836

Authorities thought that a 6 year rampage was over; but 8 more bodies have been found.

CIUDAD JUAREZ (Next to El Paso), Mexico-

After police had made arrests and bodies stopped turning up in the desert, authorities hoped that a string of rape-murders in this violent border city finally was at an end.

But the discovery this week of 8 more bodies showed they were wrong, said woman's rights activists who have long insisted that the killings have not stopped.

Authorities in Ciudad Juarez (State of Chihuahua) found the skeletal remains of 5 woman Wednesday near a field where the decayed bodies of 3 other young women had been uncovered the previous day.

'My God, I'm so angry,' said Victoria Caraveo of Mujeres por Juarez (Women for Juarez) (MPJ) one of 12 women's group's that has presssured police to do more. The activists marched to the prosecutors office yesterday to demnand action.

'Tell me, in what part of the world do you find a cemetery with bodies of girls who did'nt do anything wrong--they just worked---and for that they have been raped, tortured and murdered, their bodies thrown into the desert like dogs,' Caraveo said.

Between 1993 and 1999, police found at least 57 bodies in the desert around Ciudad Juarez, a sprawling city of 1.3 million people across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Womens' groups have insisted that more than 200 women have disappeared, and have accused police of failing to investigate. More than 36 Juarez woman disappeared this year alone, they say.

In March 1999, 5 bus drivers were charged in 20 of the killings.

At the time, police identified as the main suspect Abdel Latif Sharif , an Egyptian citizen formerly employed as an engineer at a Ciudad Juarez factory.

Shariff allegedly paid as many as 10 other men including the 5 bus drivers to commiy copycat murders to draw suspicion away from him.

Shariff denied any involvement in the killings, and his 30-year sentence was overturned on appeal in April 20001.

'The authorities lack investigative skill, and they lack interest,' said Esther Chavez, a woman's rights activist who led the battle to investigate the killings, which began in 1993. ' Imagine---after all these deaths, they are only now deciding whether to bring DNA identification equipment here.'

Recently some bodies of 1 slender woman: aged 15 to 17 were found 300 yards from the offices of the Association of Maquiladoras. Evidence connects her case in many of the other cases. Her hands were tied behind her torso and she had been forcibly stripped down to near her ankles with socks remaining.
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