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  Exhumations in Totos

Press Release Nº 121


In a simple but emotional ceremony, the remains pertaining to four victims exhumed in Ccarpaccasa, were turned over to their families. After the identification of clothing in the mobile morgue installed in the local Public Ministry, the relatives of Roberto López León, Julio Godoy Villena, Primitivo Tucuno Medina and Marceliano Zamora Vivanco, accompanied their coffins on foot to the District Attorney’s office, where a symbolic ceremony was held at five in the afternoon.

The speakers were Senior Prosecutor of Ayacucho, Juan Guzmán Aparco, commission members Pastor Humberto Lay, Sofía Macher and Monsignor Antúnez de Mayolo, who called for unity among all Peruvians and encouraged prayer that the events which have been so painful for these people not be repeated. Likewise, Ms. Angélica Mendoza president of ANFASEP spoke in Quechua, in representation of the families of the victims of political violence. Finally, a group of relatives of the four victims, the examiners and specialists who participated in the work, authorities and the general public prayed for the victims of the violence and sang peace songs before sharing bread as a symbol of unity after this long search for their loved ones.Then the funeral procession made its way around the town square, stopping in the atrium of the Cathedral, where the respective death certificates were handed out by candle light at about seven in the evening as the people of Huamanga said their final good-byes to these four victims. The procession continued to the Benevolent Society building (Beneficiencia Pública) where a vigil will be held until tomorrow when the remains will be taken to Totos, where they will be properly buried.

A fifth body positively identified by the examiners and exhumed in Sancaypata, was not turned over to the family as they did not agree with this decision and requested that the work at the clandestine gravesite be continued until satisfactory results were obtained. Out of respect for the family’s decision, the investigation will continue until final identification is made and a DNA test will also be performed in this case, making three cases in which remains from Sancaypata require genetic testing, which will take about three months to obtain final results.

Lima, September 6, 2002    

Joint Commission on the
Investigation of Mass Graves