Mass grave discovered in Peru

May 31st, 2008 - 8:52 pm ICT by admin  

Putis (Peru), May 31 (IANS) The Peruvian government has excavated the remains of at least 60 people, including 15 children, killed in a massacre led by the military in 1984, Spain’s EFE news agency reported. The mass grave was discovered in Putis, some 650 km south-east of the Peruvian capital Lima, where 120 peasants were slaughtered in 1984, the report said Friday.

This was the biggest extra-judicial burial ever discovered in Peru, said prosecutor Cristina Olazabal, who is overseeing the excavation.

She said a laboratory test would help to determine exactly how many died. There are still four other graves in Putis that await investigation.

“The saddest thing is to find so many children in the grave,” Olazabal said, referring to the remains of 15 minors found during the excavations that began May 17.

The tragedy goes back to 1984 during the government of Fernando Belaunde Terry, when the army established a base in Putis in response to the resurgent activity of the Maoist-inspired rebel group Shining Path.

The conflict in Peru’s Ayacucho region lasted for more than two decades (1980-2000).

On Dec 13, 1984, days before the massacre, the military forced the men of Putis, a remote Andean village, to dig a ditch 10-metre long and six-metre wide, telling them that it was meant for a fish farm.

But it turned out that they were digging their own grave, Norberto Lamilla, the regional director of Peace and Hope organisation in Ayacucho said.

Though the Shining Path ceased to be an effective force in 1992, the group still operated in the jungles of Upper Huallaga Valley in the region.

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