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Human rights group suspects political motive for US nun's murder

The killing of a US nun who collaborated with assasinated human rights advocate Bishop Juan Gerardi in Guatemala may have political roots, according to human rights activists.

The Mutual Support Group, Guatemala's largest group of war victims and human rights activists, said on Monday that the killing of Charity Sister Barbara Ann Ford of New York was "of a political nature".

Sr Ford died of gunshot wounds after an assault in Guatemala City on Saturday. Initial reports indicated she was shot while resisting an attempt by thieves to steal her church-owned pickup truck. In a statement, the group said the nun's vehicle was taken, then abandoned a few blocks away, where the killers robbed a second vehicle, only to abandon it. The group also said Sr Ford's work of "encouraging reconciliation among Guatemalans" was "surely not appreciated by those responsible for the pain and grieving" of people in the remote Quiche province where the 62-year old nun worked since 1989.