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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Secret graves found in Honduras
At least four secret cemeteries used by soldiers to bury victims of the repression of the 1980s have been discovered in Honduras, prosecutors say.

Aida Romero, the government's human rights ombudsman, said excavation of the graves would begin shortly.

She said the cemeteries had been found in a forested area in the east of the country, but refused to be more precise in case attempts were made to sabotage the work.

Excavations of cemeteries found last year in the eastern jungle region of El Patuca, and near the Nicaraguan border, are being stepped up, said Ms Romero.

Among the human remains discovered in these cemeteries were those of an American former Jesuit priest, James Francis Carney, who had disappeared 20 years previously after joining left-wing rebels.

Country of origin of those killed by Honduran death squads 1979-90
Honduras: 105
Nicaragua: 39
El Salvador: 28
Costa Rica: 5
Guatemala: 4
US: 2
Ecuador: 1
Source: Honduras truth commission report, 1993

The remains of six people have been exhumed over the past year, and secret cemeteries have been found in six of the country's 18 provinces, as Hondurans continue to grapple with the legacy of years of military rule.

Three years ago, human remains were also found near the El Aguacate military base.

This was built by US forces in 1983 and used as an operations centre while funding right-wing "Contra" forces fighting the left-wing Sandanista government in Nicaragua.

A 1993 Honduran truth commission blamed Honduran death squads, which it said were funded and trained in part by the US, Taiwanese and Argentine governments, for the murders of at least 184 activists and trade unionists between 1979 and 1990.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Honduras
11 Mar 03  |  Country profiles
Honduras acts over child killings
14 Mar 03  |  Americas



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