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A Bleak Day of Remembrance – 9 May

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At six in the morning of the 9th of May, a Guardia Civil patrol was returning from duty at Pamplona railway station, heading back to the barracks, when a remotely activated bomb was set off targeting their Land Rover.

The bomb had been hidden in a streetlight and the blast so severe it uprooted the lamppost which was raised several metres, as the 5-kilo bomb exploded.

20150509 - A Bleak Day of Remembrance manuel-lopez-gonzalez

Manuel López González

Officer Manuel López González, who was 23 years of age at the time and due to marry the following month, was killed in the attack, struck by flying debris which severed his aorta. Despite the efforts of medics, he would die a few hours later.

Also in the vehicle was 29 year old Juan Díez Resano, 31 year old Agustín Hernández Martín, and 27 year old Francisco López González, the brother of Manuel.

Another five officers who were nearby but off duty were injured in shrapnel from the blast.

Although the ETA terrorist group claimed responsibility, no individual has been brought to justice for the murder.

Later on the evening of May the 9th, 1978, a Guardia Civil Land Rover was on a patrol in San Sebastián with four officers on board. As the vehicle passed a cemetery near to the Guardia Civil barracks, two ETA terrorists opened fire on the vehicle from a 3 metre high wall.

20150509 - A Bleak Day of Remembrance juan-marcos gonzalez

Juan Marcos González

Two of the officers on board, 20 year old Juan Marcos González, who was driving the vehicle, and Miguel Ángel Íñigo Blanco would die as a result of the injuries sustained, Juan Marcos later that evening, Ángel Íñigo six days later.

Miguel Ángel Íñigo Blanco

Miguel Ángel Íñigo Blanco

The other two officers, 23 year old Juan Jiménez Bermúdez, and 22 year old José Amado Juan, managed to escape from the bullet riddled Land Rover.

The terrorists ran through the cemetery to a road on the other side and fled the scene.

In 1982, Antonio García del Molino and Ignacio Apilañez Olalde would be convicted for their involvement in the attack and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

On the same day in 1991, nine hours before the official start of the municipal election campaign, a bomb would explode under a Guardia Civil vehicle in Ortuella.

Francisco Álvarez Gómez

Francisco Álvarez Gómez

The blast was so strong witnesses report seeing the car lift off the road, the roof blown off and officer Francisco Álvarez Gómez flung from the vehicle onto nearby railway tracks, several metres from his vehicle.

Although seemingly still alive, first responders at the scene at first refused to move Francisco without the approval of a doctor, but he was transported by ambulance to hospital where the 38 year old victim was declared to have been killed as a result of his injuries.

Terrorist Jesús María Mendinueta Flores was convicted of the attack, later to be acquitted due to lack of evidence, but subsequent investigations named Juan Carlos Iglesias Chouzas as responsible. He was arrested in 1991 for placing a similar bomb on another vehicle, he was released four years later and fled, was arrested again in 1999 in France and was extradited to Spain in 2004.

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