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Salvadorans rebury remains of 41 peasants killed by army in civil war massacre

Salvadorans rebury remains of 41 peasants killed by army in civil war massacre

Amid tears and religious hymns, relatives and friends on Thursday reburied the remains of 41 men, women and children killed in a 1981 massacre during the country's 12-year civil war.
The victims were slain by Salvadoran army special forces in several hamlets, in what became known as the Quesera Massacre. The official death toll was 50, but human rights groups say as many as 500 people were killed.
Local residents originally buried the victims in a series of makeshift mass graves, but in 2004 the residents of Los Linares, 45 miles (75 kilometers) east of San Salvador, asked that the bodies of 41 relatives buried in one such grave be exhumed, so they could be given Roman Catholic funerals.
"The object is to get them back some dignity and a Christian burial," said Maria Julia Hernandez, director of the Roman Catholic legal assistance office which supports victims of the civil war.
The army forces were supposedly hunting leftist guerrillas but residents said they attacked men, women and children who had nothing to do with the insurgency.
"Their mission was to finish with our people," said Alejandro Pineda, 75, who lost many of his family and friends. "They went house to house carrying out executions. ... They killed chickens, cows, burned down houses. Few of us survived."
Felicito Pineda, 68, buried his wife and three young children.
"They left bodies ripped to pieces by bullets," he said. "It is a picture I don't want to remember."
More than 75,000 Salvadorans died during the civil war, in which El Salvador's U.S.-backed government sought to crush a leftist guerrilla insurgency led by the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.
The conflict ended with the signing of a peace treaty in January 1992.


Updated : 2021-05-12 23:05 GMT+08:00