Ayacucho

Peru: massacre victims exhumed in Ayacucho

Investigators from the Fiscalía, Peru's public prosecutor, exhumed 21 bodies from four mass graves in a remote area of Ayacucho region, the office announced Sept. 15. The find was made at the hamlet of Belen Chapi, in the Paccha area of Chungui district, in a zone of high jungle known as the Oreja de Perro which had been a stronghold of the Shining Path rebels in the 1980s. The victims were members of a peasant community who were summarily executed by security forces on July 14, 1984. The remains included those of nine children; a pregnant woman, whose fetus was counted among the 21 dead; four other women; and six men. Authorities will now begin the work of identifying the bodies, as well as naming the members of the army and National Police who were responsible for the massacre. The remains of nine other community members said to have been killed that day remain missing.

Peru: interior minister linked to journalist's murder

Press reports in Peru that judicial authorities have opened an investigation into Interior Minister Daniel Urresti in connection with the murder of a journalist have sparked calls for his resignation. The former army general is reportedly suspected of being "intellectual author" of the slaying of Hugo Bustíos, a writer for Caretas magazine, who was attacked Nov. 24, 1988 by what is presumed to have been a group of soldiers in civilian dress at the hamlet of Quinrapa, Huanta district, Ayacucho, where he was covering the war against the Shining Path guerillas. Peru's Press and Society Institute issued a statement calling it "rudely offensive to the values of a democratic state" that Urresti remain at his post while facing a murder probe. The National Association of Journalists also called for Urresti to step down. The National Coordinator of Human Rights added that Urresti's continuation as interior minister, overseeing the country's National Police, "constitutes a grave risk for the security of family members and witnesses" that will be called in the investigation. Urresti, who took office in late June, denies any involvement in the slaying. President Ollanta Humala has stood by him.

Peru: Lucanamarca massacre remembered

Peru's President Ollanta Humala oversaw a ceremony April 3 at the village of Lucanamarca (Huancasancos province, Ayacucho region), delivering a "symbolic" package of reparations for the massacre there on that date in 1983. The reparations, delivered to five communities in the district-level municipality, ammounted to 100,000 soles (not quite $40,000). The ceremony centered around the reading of the names of the 69 victims of the massacre, including 11 women and 18 children. The youngest of the victims was less then six months old. (Andina, April 3) Sendero Luminoso guerillas occupied the village and "executed" the 69 residents after villagers had killed their local commander Olegario Curitomay, in retaliation for cattle thieving by the rebels. (La Republica, April 4; pro-Sendero account at RevLeft)

Peru: Uchuraccay massacre recalled

The Peruvian Press Association on Jan. 26 noted the 30th anniversary of the massacre of eight journalists and their local guide at the village of Uchurachay, Ayacucho department, where they themselves had been investigating reports of massacres. But a commentary in the left-leaning Lima daily El Popular decried that the violence against Uchurachay's campesinos was "more invisible." Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) found that in the months around the slaying of the journalists, 135 members of the community of 470 were killed—hanged, hacked or stoned to death, their bodies thrown into canyons to be eaten by dogs. Most of the killings seem to have been ordered by village authorities in an effort to purge sympathizers of the Shining Path guerillas. (La Republica, Feb. 1; La Republica, La Republica, Jan. 29; El Comercio, Jan. 26; El Popular, Jan. 21)

Peru's Congress marks Putis massacre

A ceremony was held on the floor of Peru's Congress Dec. 13 to commemorate the 1984 massacre of over 100 campesinos by army troops at the village of Putis, in south-central Ayacucho region. A full Congress honored the presence of Aurelio Condoray Curo, vice president of the Putis Political Violence Survivors Association, and families from the village. That same day, a Caravan for the Reconstruction of Putis left for the village with trucks of material aid from the Ayacucho city of Huamanga. The efforts were promoted by lawmaker María Soledad Pérez Tello, president of the Congressional Human Rights Commission. The local municipality of Huanta is still in the process of identifying bodies that have been unearthed from more than 40 mass graves in and around Putis.

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