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Duarte Awaits Word on Daughter's Kidnaping

September 12, 1985|MARJORIE MILLER | Times Staff Writer

SAN SALVADOR — President Jose Napoleon Duarte, looking tired and drawn, awaited word Wednesday from the gunmen who kidnaped his oldest daughter the day before, and government security forces continued a wide-scale search for her.

Julio Rey Prendes, El Salvador's communications minister, said the government has received no word from the abductors of Ines Guadalupe Duarte Duran, the president's daughter. He refused to say whether the gunmen who seized her Tuesday at a private university, killing her driver and wounding a bodyguard, were thought to be leftist guerrillas or right-wing extremists.

Both groups have in the past resorted to kidnaping, although recently the tactic has been more often associated with the left. Members of the People's Revolutionary Army, a faction of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, the rebel umbrella organization, have been holding 13 mayors of Salvadoran towns since April.

Offer of U.S. Help

In Washington, the State Department said the United States has agreed to provide "technical, administrative and intelligence" assistance to El Salvador's investigation into the kidnaping.

Salvadoran officials said President Reagan called Duarte to express "heartfelt concerns and prayers" for the safety of his daughter. White House spokesman Larry Speakes said Reagan considers the kidnaping "an outrage."

Government officials here disclosed that a 23-year-old student also was kidnaped with the president's daughter. The other woman, Ana Cecilia Villeda, was Duarte Duran's former secretary and a fellow student at the New University of San Salvador.

The two were abducted by several gunmen--the exact number was uncertain--outside the university where the president's daughter is studying communications.

Duarte Duran, general manager of the station Radio Libertad and mother of three children, has managed her father's political campaigns.

The government has captured several guerrilla leaders in recent months, leading to speculation that rebels might have abducted Duarte Duran in order to arrange an exchange, particularly for Nidia Diaz, a commander of the Central American Revolutionary Workers Party. That is the rebel faction that took responsibility for the June 19 attack on sidewalk cafes, in which 13 people, including four U.S. Marines, were shot to death.

Rey Prendes declined to comment on whether the government would consider a trade in the event that Duarte Duran's abductors turned out to be guerrillas. Members of Duarte's Christian Democratic government appealed for help to Roman Catholic Church leaders, who in the past have acted as intermediaries in establishing contact with the rebels.

The president canceled a trip he was to make to the United States for a speech to the U.N. General Assembly. Rey Prendes said that neither Duarte, 59, nor his family has received any direct threats recently, but he noted that a general threat was issued over the guerrillas' clandestine Radio Venceremos on Tuesday by commander Ismael Dimas Aguilar of the Central American Revolutionary Workers Party.

Dimas Aguilar, known by the pseudonym Ulises and allegedly the leader of the cafe attack, said his commando group is "intact and ready to complete any order from the general command." He said urban attacks such as the Marine killings will continue and might be directed at U.S. personnel in El Salvador.

'Pain of a Father'

Duarte, after meeting with his Cabinet, made a brief appearance but declined to answer reporters' questions. "I think that the road of peace and comprehension is always best, not the road of violence and death," the president said. "I am working, of course, with the great pain of a father. . . . I have my duty to my country and I am fulfilling it."

.- Meanwhile, a State Department spokesman said the Reagan Administration "will be shortly submitting to Congress a bill authorizing initiation of a civilian and military counterterrorism program in Central America," adding that "consultations with the Congress . . . are now under way."

A department official said the program "has been in the pipeline for quite some time" and that it will cost about $53 million, with the aid going to El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras and possibly Panama and Belize. That would exclude only Nicaragua. The United States has provided El Salvador with assistance in previous investigations of terrorism.

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