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Saturday, 15 April, 2000, 02:51 GMT 03:51 UK
'Disappeared' mass grave found in Argentina
Mass grave site
Police would dispose of bodies in the night
The authorities in Argentina have sealed off a municipal cemetery outside Buenos Aires where they believe 90 victims of military rule are buried in mass graves.

The bodies were interred in several unmarked plots between 1976 and 1983, during the period known as the "Dirty War" when tens of thousands of people in Argentina died or disappeared.

The graves were marked with instructions not to disturb.

Their existence, in the small town of Lomas de Zamora just south of Buenos Aires, was discovered by chance during a search of the cemetery archives by the recently-elected municipal authorities.


President Menem
President Menem pardoned leaders of the military regime
The local mayor, Edgardo Didio, told the BBC he had handed over the archives to the local prosecutor for investigation.

Mr Didio said the bodies might have come from a nearby detention centre called Pozo de Banfield used as a torture camp for opponents of the military regime.

Thousands disappeared

According to a government commission appointed in 1984, about 9,800 people were listed as "disappeared" after being arrested during the military regime's "dirty war" against political opponents.

Many of those abducted were accused of being leftist sympathisers - they were sent to torture centres and then murdered.

Human rights organisations have said the actual number of victims is higher than 30,000.

Many of the regime's top leaders were tried and sent to prison, but were pardoned by President Carlos Menem after he came to power in 1989.

Investigations are continuing into charges that officials stole babies born in detention camps, a crime not covered by the pardon.

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19 Aug 98 | Top features
The Living Disappeared
12 Feb 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Argentina's missing babies
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