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  Exhumations in Totos

Press Release Nº 115


Two simultaneous procedures at Ccarpacassa
and the cemetery of Totos

This afternoon ended the exhumation procedure in the area of Ccarpacassa, where it was possible to recover the remains of three people presumably assassinated by Army members in April 1983. This procedure took place simultaneously to another at the cemetery of Totos, where the remains of a fourth victim were found. This person was assassinated and buried in the grave of Ccarpacassa, and after a year of his disappearance, his body was found by a relative and buried at the village cemetery.
Both procedures started at 9 o’clock in the morning, with the presence of two Special Prosecutors for Forced Disappearances, Extrajudicial Executions and Exhumations of Clandestine Graves, Felipe Villavicencio from the city of Lima and Ana Isabel Barreda from Ayacucho.

Relatives of the victims recognized clothing of their loved ones
When finally the experts found the first remains and clothing in the grave of Ccarpacassa, the relatives present at the site were invited to try to identify the remains found.
Marcelina Cconislla, wife of Rigoberto Lopez León, said that she recognized the green sweater her husband was wearing when he disappeared. Similar situations were the ones of Irma Puchuri, who recognized among the remains found in the grave the blue jacket worn by her husband Julio Godoy Bellido, and Gertrudis Carhuaz, who said she recognized the blue sweater worn by her husband Primitivo Tucno Medina. Although the relatives allegedly recognized these clothing, the facts will be confirmed when the forensic experts complete the identification process of the remains found.
According to existing information, between April 8th and 15th, 1983, at the district of Totos four people were arrested by combined Army and Police forces in the area. These people were accused of being part of the Shining Path and had been part of a list of alleged members of the terrorist group because they did not go the community meeting convoked by the Police in the area.

Findings at the cemetery of Totos
The remains of a fourth person have been found at the cemetery of Totos. Marcelino Zamora Vivanco was exhumed after one year of disappearing by his wife, who - after she found out what had happened to her husband - went in search for his remains and buried him.
At the same cemetery, the skull of Rigoberto Lopez León was found. His wife Marcelina Cconislla also found the remains of her husband at the grave of Ccarpacassa, and although she tried to take him to the cemetery, she was only able to carry his skull.
The relatives of the victims of Ccaparcassa were accompanied by a group of psychologists of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and representatives of the Peace and Hope Association, a human rights institution that supported these families since the facts occurred in 1983.

Concern among relatives
After finding the remains of only three out of the fifteen victims that were allegedly buried in the grave of Sancaypata, members of the Joint Work Platform for the Investigation of Mass Graves, which includes the Prosecutor’s Office, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Human Rights National Coordinator, gave an explanation to the inhabitants of Quispillacta, the village where most of the victims came from.
The forensic experts said that the exhumed graves in the area of Sancaypata showed signs of having been previously broken into. As more than 19 years have passed since the fact, it is possible that animals in the area had disturbed the remains and transported them to some other places. These were some of the technical explanations given to the relatives.
However, it was impossible to avoid the consternation and pain among the relatives who wanted to see the remains of their loved ones and who unfortunately had to leave without accomplishing their wishes. In view of the results, the families asked the Joint Platform to visit other graves that would have been identified near the area of Sancaypata.
This procedure was carried out in the morning. Forensic experts accompanied the relatives to the place where they said there was a mass grave. But on that site they were not able to find human remains, and the same happened at two other sites where no remains were found. Therefore, the relatives of Quispillacta decided to continue with the process of identifying the remains found during the exhumation of the grave of Sancaypata.
During the three days of work, the experts were able to exhume the remains of seven persons: three in the graves of Sancaypata, three in the graves of Ccarpacassa and one in the cemetery of Totos.

Lima, August 27th, 2002

Office of Communications and Public Impact