GUATEMALA CITY Aug 20 A top Guatemalan general
and four other officers were killed on Wednesday when the
helicopter they were in crashed near the country's northern
border with Mexico, Guatemala's government said.
Chief of the Defense Staff General Rudy Ortiz and the four
others had gone to inspect military installations when the Bell
206 helicopter came down in thick cloud in the village of El
Nenton in the Huehuetenango region, the Defense Ministry said.
Guatemala's Defense Minister Manuel Lopez said the causes of
the crash were still being investigated, but added he did not
believe foul play had been involved.
The Central American country has one of the highest murder
rates in the Americas and the government is battling to crack
down on violent drug gangs from Mexico that use Guatemala as a
staging post to move contraband north to the United States.
Ortiz, 51, had been touted as a potential future Defense
Minister by Guatemalan media in recent weeks.
(Reporting by Sofia Menchu. Editing by Andre Grenon)