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Thousands Mourn Slain Colombian

November 04, 1995|From Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia — The nation's leaders and thousands of other mourners accompanied a casket bearing slain political leader Alvaro Gomez Hurtado through a rain-swept plaza Friday as the government vowed to thwart terrorism.

Meanwhile, a shadowy group calling itself National Dignity claimed responsibility for the assassination and warned of more killings unless President Ernesto Samper resigns.

Gomez was a prominent critic of Samper, who attended the service along with several ex-presidents and Cabinet ministers.

Gomez himself had urged Samper to resign over allegations that his 1994 election campaign was financed by the Cali drug cartel. Gomez also spoke out against leftist guerrillas and drug traffickers.

"Mr. Gomez was a man who stuck to his ideas," said student Ruben Garcia, 21. "Anybody could have killed him. Those who tell the truth get killed."

Gomez, 76, a former senator and ambassador to Washington, was killed by gunmen Thursday in front of the Bogota university where he taught law. The killing prompted the government to declare a state of emergency.

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