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MEXICO ASSASSINATION WAS ACT OF LONE GUNMAN, PROSECUTOR SAYS

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A lone gunman assassinated presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in March, according to the special prosecutor's latest theory, which was roundly rejected by human rights activists, opposition politicians and citizens on Friday.

Late Thursday, special prosecutor Miguel Montes Garcia sharply backed away from the government's previously described view that a conspiracy was responsible for the death of Colosio, who was widely expected to be the next president of Mexico."Recent investigations . . . strengthen the theory that the murder was committed by one man alone: Mario Aburto Martinez," Montes said in a statement.

It came three days after a special commission to investigate the assassination disbanded because the panel's five members said they could not gain access to needed information. A Mexican congressional committee, created to investigate the crime, has made similar complaints.

According to surveys, many Mexicans believe the government is covering up a high-level conspiracy to assassinate Colosio.

In his statement, Montes denied rumors that Aburto, who has been imprisoned while he awaits trial on charges connected with the assassination, is not the same suspect who was originally arrested. He also denied assertions that the one-inch difference in the size of the two bulletholes in Colosio's body indicates that the wounds were made by bullets of different calibers.

Montes did not say where Aburto obtained the gun he allegedly used in the assassination. He also did not discuss whether Aburto belonged to a political group, as relatives and friends have indicated. Nor did he mention a motive.

Montes' spokesman denied that the prosecutor's statement signaled the end of an investigation that has embarrassed the government and overshadowed the presidential campaign.

Even so, the latest development in the inquiry met with wide skepticism.