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MOTHER FEARS DAUGHTER WAS KILLED IN INFERNO

SHARE MOTHER FEARS DAUGHTER WAS KILLED IN INFERNO

While thousands of U.S. troops scoured Panama for Gen. Manuel Noriega, Victoria Rodriguez wanted only to find her little girl.

Rodriguez fears her daughter was killed Wednesday in the predawn assault by U.S. soldiers on the headquarters of the Panamanian Defense Forces in her poor neighborhood of El Chorriollo."It was a tremendous force," Rodriguez said of the attack. "It was done in the most cruel way."

Rodriguez cried as she recounted the fighting and the inferno around the defense forces headquarters. She told her story from a wheelchair in Santo Tomas Hospital, which was overflowing with the wounded and refugees.

"My little girl has disappeared," she said. "I can't find her. She's not in the house. The house burned down."

"The problem is that they are marginal areas with wood houses and they burn easily," hospital director Dr. Leonardo Diaz said.

Another woman in the waiting room said the U.S. show of force was "like going after an ant with a bazooka."

Ambulance crews complained they were shot at while trying to help victims of the fighting but said they did not know who was firing.