Page last updated at 01:56 GMT, Monday, 26 May 2008 02:56 UK

Peru recovers mass grave bodies

Map of Peru

Forensic investigators in Peru say they have recovered the remains of at least 25 people from a mass grave, which could be the site of a 1984 massacre.

A group for the victims' families says it believes the grave contains more than 125 people killed by the military.

The search for mass graves follows a government-approved truth commission into atrocities committed by both the military and Shining Path rebels.

The insurgency of the Maoist guerrillas lasted two decades, ending in 2000.

The commission found that the military offered the highland town of Putis, in the southern region of Ayacucho, as a safe haven for civilians fleeing the Shining Path rebels.

It said the soldiers then tricked the villagers into digging their own graves - saying that it would be a trout pond - and then killed them on suspicion of having ties to the guerrillas.


The BBC's Dan Collyns in Lima says relatives of the victims, who include men women and children, are now helping forensic experts to identify remains as well as giving testimony to the chief prosecutor's office.

In time, it is hoped a memorial will be built on the site.

Peru's truth commission recommended in 2003 that all suspected massacre sites be investigated, but exhumations have only recently begun.

Our correspondent says very few military officers suspected of involvement in the killings during the two decades of civil conflict have been prosecuted.

Almost 70,000 people were killed during that period. According to the commission the rebels were responsible for more than half of the killings, the military are blamed for the rest.

Peru struggles with its dark past
10 Dec 07 |  Americas
Profile: Peru's Shining Path
05 Nov 04 |  Americas
Mass graves found in Peru
05 May 01 |  Americas
Timeline: Peru
22 Sep 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Peru
12 May 07 |  Country profiles

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