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Page last updated at 07:19 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 08:19 UK

Peruvians bury mass grave victims

By Dan Collyns
BBC News, Lima

Relatives carry coffins containing the remains of victims of the 1984 massacre during a funeral ceremony in Putis, Peru, 29 August 2009
The burials followed a two-day funeral procession to Putis

Dozens of civilian victims of a 1984 massacre in Peru have been buried, 25 years after they were murdered during a bitter Maoist insurgency.

The burials followed a two-day funeral procession for some 90 victims recovered from a mass grave last year.

The killing of more than 120 men, women and children in the highland village of Putis was the worst massacre in two decades of bitter conflict.

A group for the victims' families says they were killed by the military.

The two-day procession passed through Ayacucho, the Andean region which was at the centre of the violence unleashed by the Mao-inspired Shining Path rebels who sought to overthrow the state.

The response was brutal repression, and the mass grave left at Putis is Peru's largest - 92 bodies were found but only 28 of them have been identified using DNA testing.

No prosecution

The funeral procession began on the sixth anniversary of Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Remains excavated in the mass grave at Putis, Peru
Only 28 bodies have been identified by DNA testing

Jose Coronel, who presided over the commission in Ayacucho, said there was still little sign of reconciliation over the massacre at Putis.

"There have been no steps forward in terms of justice because the armed forces refuse to give the names of the officers who were stationed at the military base here in 1984," he said.

No member of the Peruvian military has been prosecuted for the massacre.

Peru's Defence Minister, Rafael Rey, has said there's no way of getting the records.

But Peru's human rights ombudswoman, Beatriz Merino, has called this unacceptable and says the state has an obligation to see justice is done.

Some 15,000 people disappeared between 1980 and 2000.

The remains of a little more than 1% of them have been exhumed.



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SEE ALSO
Peruvians seek relatives in mass grave
12 Jun 08 |  Americas
Peru recovers mass grave bodies
26 May 08 |  Americas
Peru struggles with its dark past
10 Dec 07 |  Americas
Profile: Peru's Shining Path
05 Nov 04 |  Americas
Peruvian peasants recount atrocities
08 Apr 02 |  Americas
Timeline: Peru
02 Sep 12 |  Country profiles
Peru country profile
31 Jul 12 |  Country profiles

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