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Bodies emerge from Guatemala's war-era 'model villages'

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In this Nov. 30, 2017, an Ixil Mayan carries the remains of a civil war victim to a memorial for a mass burial in Santa Avelina, Guatemala. During the...
In this Nov. 30, 2017 photos, Ixil Mayans carry the remains of their loved ones killed during the civil war to the cemetery for burial in Santa Avelin...
In this Nov. 29, 2017 photo, a forensic anthropologist holds earrings that belonged to 6-year-old Maria Poma Perez, who was exhumed from a mass grave,...
In this Nov. 30. 2017 photo, a portrait of Pedro Gomez Marroquin lays on his coffin during a memorial and burial of 171 people who died during the civ...
In this Nov. 29, 2017, Baltazar Perez Sanchez, 71, mourns next to the coffin of his mother Magdalena, who died at age 65, during her wake in Santa Ave...
In this Nov. 29, 2017 photo, forensic anthropologist Dany Guzman holds a skull exhumed from a mass grave where residents hope to identify missing rela...
In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, men stand on a cemetery tomb to get a better view of the burial of 172 Ixil Mayans who died during the civil war, in Sant...
In this Nov. 29, 2017 photo, clothing, earrings and a doll that were found among the remains of over 100 Ixil Mayans exhumed from a mass grave, lay on...
In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, a woman walks up an unpaved road in the Ixil Mayan village of Santa Avelina, Guatemala. In 1980, the army formed one of i...
In this Nov. 29, 2017 photo, the relatives of civil war victim Antonio Perez Velasco, whose remains were exhumed and identified, sit around a campfire...
In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, locals carry the remains of family members who were killed during the civil war,  to finally be buried in Santa Avelina, ...
In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, Tomas Cavinal Toma, 70, watches the burial of civil war victims at the cemetery in Santa Avelina, Guatemala. Exhumations ...
In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, villagers place the remains of their recently identified relatives killed during the civil war, in niche graves at the ce...
In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, an Ixil Maya man prays next to the niches where 172 civil war victims were placed, at the cemetery in Santa Avelina, Guat...

In this Nov. 30, 2017, an Ixil Mayan carries the remains of a civil war victim to a memorial for a mass burial in Santa Avelina, Guatemala. During the...

In this Nov. 30, 2017 photos, Ixil Mayans carry the remains of their loved ones killed during the civil war to the cemetery for burial in Santa Avelin...

In this Nov. 29, 2017 photo, a forensic anthropologist holds earrings that belonged to 6-year-old Maria Poma Perez, who was exhumed from a mass grave,...

In this Nov. 30. 2017 photo, a portrait of Pedro Gomez Marroquin lays on his coffin during a memorial and burial of 171 people who died during the civ...

In this Nov. 29, 2017, Baltazar Perez Sanchez, 71, mourns next to the coffin of his mother Magdalena, who died at age 65, during her wake in Santa Ave...

In this Nov. 29, 2017 photo, forensic anthropologist Dany Guzman holds a skull exhumed from a mass grave where residents hope to identify missing rela...

In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, men stand on a cemetery tomb to get a better view of the burial of 172 Ixil Mayans who died during the civil war, in Sant...

In this Nov. 29, 2017 photo, clothing, earrings and a doll that were found among the remains of over 100 Ixil Mayans exhumed from a mass grave, lay on...

In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, a woman walks up an unpaved road in the Ixil Mayan village of Santa Avelina, Guatemala. In 1980, the army formed one of i...

In this Nov. 29, 2017 photo, the relatives of civil war victim Antonio Perez Velasco, whose remains were exhumed and identified, sit around a campfire...

In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, locals carry the remains of family members who were killed during the civil war, to finally be buried in Santa Avelina, ...

In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, Tomas Cavinal Toma, 70, watches the burial of civil war victims at the cemetery in Santa Avelina, Guatemala. Exhumations ...

In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, villagers place the remains of their recently identified relatives killed during the civil war, in niche graves at the ce...

In this Nov. 30, 2017 photo, an Ixil Maya man prays next to the niches where 172 civil war victims were placed, at the cemetery in Santa Avelina, Guat...

SANTA AVELINA, Guatemala (AP) — It wasn't only bullets and violence that killed thousands of indigenous people during Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war.

The government forced tens of thousands of farmers into so-called model villages under strict army control to isolate them from the guerrillas. They were promised health care and other services, but instead were left to die from malnutrition and treatable illnesses. They weren't included in the casualty count in the brutal conflict.

Now, in the hamlet of Santa Avelina, their bodies are being unearthed, identified and reburied. Among the bodies are scores of indigenous children who died from measles in the former model village, where residents lived in small, dirt-floor houses and sermons and Christian hymns were once played from loudspeakers.


Updated : 2021-07-28 02:47 GMT+08:00