Tue, Jul 28, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Army won’t fire on Zelaya supporters

AFP AND REUTERS , OCOTAL, NICARAGUA

The head of the Honduran military has pledged not to use deadly force against supporters of toppled president Manuel Zelaya after the army gave its backing to mediation efforts.

“We will not fire on our people,” the armed forces commander, General Romeo Vasquez, told Radio Globo, one of the few Honduras media outlets critical of the interim government headed by Robert Micheletti.

Vasquez was a key figure in the June 28 ouster of Zelaya and has defended the expulsion, but has said he was only enforcing a Supreme Court ruling.

Zelaya is now camped out on the Nicaraguan side of the border with Honduras from where he is plotting his return.

On Sunday Zelaya complained that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had stopped using the term “coup” to describe his removal.

“The position of the Secretary Clinton at the beginning was firm. Now I feel that she’s not really denouncing [it] and she’s not acting firmly against the repression that Honduras is suffering,” he told reporters.

In comments carried live on Radio Globo, Zelaya urged mid-level military officers to mutiny against their generals, who he said had betrayed Honduras for money.

“As commander in chief of the armed forces, I ask patriotic soldiers to think of their children, think of their families and to rebel against Romeo Vazquez,” Zelaya said.

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