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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 May 2007, 01:20 GMT 02:20 UK
Mass graves uncovered in Colombia
Human remains found in a mass grave in La Hormiga
Over 200 bodies have been found over the past 10 days
Colombian authorities have uncovered the mass graves of more than 100 people believed to have been killed during the country's long-running civil conflict.

Interior Minister Carlos Holguin said he was horrified by the discoveries near the town of La Hormiga, in the southern province of Putumayo.

The government was told of the graves after a peace deal with the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC).

The right-wing paramilitary group has been blamed for many massacres.

Described by the UN as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, the conflict between the army, right-wing groups such as the AUC, and left-wing rebel groups, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), has left tens of thousands of Colombians dead.


The 105 people discovered in 65 mass graves late on Friday near La Hormiga, the largest so far found, are believed to have been killed during the war.

This small town near the border with Ecuador was an AUC stronghold dominating an area known for its coca crops, the raw material for cocaine, through which the group financed itself.

Colombia's attorney-general, Mario Iguran, told reporters that most of the victims had been local peasants killed by both the AUC and Farc.

Both sides have been accused of killing civilians they believe to be aiding their enemies.

"We are horrified at this cruelty driven by the insatiable lust for land," Interior Minister Carlos Holguin said.

Judicial authorities have now exhumed a total of 211 bodies near La Hormiga over the past 10 days.

A further 10,000 victims are believed to be buried across the country.

However, a lack of resources has hampered efforts to exhume mass graves and it may take years before the bodies are exhumed and the true number of victims is known.

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