CIA reportedly sought formation of Battalion 316

May 12, 1998|By SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Leo Valladares, a Honduran human rights investigator, said yesterday that a Honduran military commander, Gen. Luis Discua, told him in late 1993 that at the request of the CIA he created a Honduran military unit found to have kidnapped, tortured and murdered suspected subversives in the 1980s.

At a meeting at the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa, Valladares said, Discua "held up a file [and] said: 'If I created Battalion 316, it's because I was asked to do so by the CIA.' "

Valladares was testifying before a congressional committee on legislation that would speed the declassification of material requested by Latin American and Caribbean "truth commissions" that seek to uncover Cold War misdeeds by military leaders.

Discua, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But Valladares' comment confirms statements that Discua made to The Sun in 1994: "I was advised by American advisers, to organize this unit," he said, although he denied that the unit committed human rights abuses.

Pub Date: 5/12/98

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