September 28, 2023

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‘Andean Butcher’ victims buried after 37 years in Peru

Published on 5/20/22 1:50 PM / Updated on 5/20/2222 1:51 PM


Acomarca, Peru- The remains of dozens of victims of the “Butcher of the Andes” will be buried Friday (20/5) in a small cemetery in a remote village in Peru, 37 years after the symbolic massacre of the internal war (1980-2000). .

In the popular Acomarca Square in the Andean region of Ayacucho (southeast), the victims of the massacre perpetrated by a military patrol on August 14, 1985, including twenty children, will be bid farewell.

Their relatives buried dozens of small white coffins with the remains of the victims, and with silver crosses on them, for two days.

“I lost my mother and my five brothers,” 11-year-old Teofilla Ochoa, who saved herself by running into the field on that fateful day, told AFP.

Soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Telmo Hurtado killed and burned nearly all of Acomarca’s population, claiming to be members of the Maoist guerrilla Sendero Luminoso.

Hurtado, the “butcher of the Andes,” is serving a 23-year sentence for the massacre after being extradited from the United States. Among the ten soldiers convicted of the crime, five deserters.

– said Ochoa, 49, carrying a black saddle and – a white photo of your mother

– Mass and party –

A mass will be held in the morning at the church where the victims are buried on Wednesday and Thursday.

After that, the small coffins will be taken to the square, in front of the temple, where a platform with a white background was erected with images for exhumation of the bodies of the victims in a mass grave.

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Dozens of residents flooded the square in the morning, when the head of the ministerial government, Aníbal Torres, and the chief justice, Felix Schero, were expected to arrive for a party. After that, the coffins will be taken to the small cemetery on the hill of San Cristobal, from where you can see a fertile valley from above.

Since dawn, the square has been guarded by uniformed agents and civilians.

Under the slogan “Never again,” about 25 students between the ages of 7 and 14 from the public school “Fe y Alegría” massacred in the square on Thursday night.

The parade, which featured a bonfire, was met with applause and tears from the 150 people who attended. Then a choir of 10 girls in typical Andean costumes and hats performed a song in the Quechua language.

During this period, family members received support from the International Committee of the Red Cross in the search for their loved ones, as well as burials.

In January, prosecutors reported that they had “identified 42 victims of the more than 69 residents executed in Acomarca, their bones and clothing interred in a mass grave in 2007.”

“Many children will be able to bury their parents in Christianity, but there are children who will continue to wait, because there are parts [ossos] “She has not been identified yet,” Accomarca Mayor Fernando Ochoa told AFP.

The 37-year-old mayor lost his grandmother in the massacre.

According to a 2003 report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, there were about 4,000 mass graves in Peru of conflict victims.

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The clash left about 70,000 people dead and 21,000 missing, 40% of them in Ayacucho, according to official figures.