In Spain, the funeral of the Basque provincial military governor who was killed by separatist guerrillas, was held in San Sebastian on Monday (24 September).
In Spain, the funeral of the Basque provincial military governor who was killed by separatist guerrillas, was held in San Sebastian on Monday (24 September). Brigadier General Lorenzo Gonzalez-Valles Sanchez who was fifty-nine was shot in the back as he was walking in civilian clothes along the promenade in the Basque provincial capital on Sunday (23 September). He was the military Governor of Guipuzcoa and was the fourth general and twelfth member of the Spanish army to be killed in guerrilla incidents this year. His death was believed to have been an important factor in Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez' decision to postpone a proposed trip abroad. The Basque separatist organisation ETA has claimed responsibility for the General's death.
SYNOPSIS: The Spanish government was represented at the funeral by Defence Minister Agustin Rodriguez Sahagun. The funeral procession began at the military headquarters in San Sebastian. Following the attack on General Gonzalez-Valles, Mr. Suarez held urgent consultations with his ministers and Mr. Rodriguez warned Spaniards that the Basque guerrilla group ETA was likely to strike again. On Tuesday (25 September) Mr. Suarez decided to postpone an eight-day trip to Central American and the United States which had been scheduled to begin on Wednesday (26 September).
ETA is opposed to the terms of the Basque autonomy statute to be voted on in a referendum in October. It believes the home rule plan negotiated between Basque politicians and the Madrid government is too moderate and has stepped up its guerrilla activities as the date of the referendum approaches. Spanish authorities believe the attacks on military personnel are designed to provoke the army into direct intervention tin the Basque province which ETA apparently believes would swing Basque nationalist opinion firmly behind the separatist guerrillas.