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  Exhumations in Totos

Press Release Nº 109


At 9:35 this morning, the procedures scheduled by the Joint Work Platform for the Investigation of Mass Graves started in the area of Sancaypata, located at 1 ½ km away from the village of Totos.
At 12:30 noon, there was a first recess in the forensic tasks, after having discovered a bullet casing, bones and some clothing in the two mass graves named Sancaypata 1 and Sancaypata 2, where simultaneous procedures by the experts working in the exhumation of this area were carried out.
Several relatives of the victims presumably to be found at these mass graves have come to the site of exhumation. From the hamlet of Cuchuquesera, of the community of Quispillacta, there came the relatives of 8 victims who were arrested by Army personnel when coming back from Quispillacta to Pampamarca. They all talked with the representative of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Alberto Morote, and presented their demands.
On Sunday, more relatives came and there was a meeting of more than one hundred people. The next day they met also with a delegation of ANFASEP.
The Special Prosecutor for Forced Disappearances, Extra-judicial Executions and… human rights of the Ombudsman’s Office, Carlos Chipoco, the commissioner Alberto Morote on behalf of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Pablo Rojas, representative of the Human Rights National Coordinator were the ones who started this procedure.
There also participated the Special Prosecutor for Forced Disappearances of Ayacucho, Dr. Ana Isabel Barreda, the representative of the Ombudsman’s Office in Ayacucho, Jorge Anaya, and the coordinator of the Regional Office of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ayacucho, José Coronel.
The forensics experts are headed by anthropologist Luis Fondebride, co-founder of the Argentinean Team of Forensic Anthropology, Isabel Reveco, forensic anthropologist of Chilean nationality and Mercedes Salado, Spanish anthropologist with broad experience in Guatemala. They are accompanied by experts of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Commission for Truth.

The day before: Meeting with the authorities and inhabitants of Totos
At 4:30, the large group of the Joint Work Platform for the Investigation of Mass Graves, including the representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Human Rights National Coordinator, had a meeting with the village authorities of Totos, to whom they explained the reason of their visit and asked about the expectations of the inhabitants about the work they are carrying out.
At 6:30 in the afternoon, there was a similar meeting with the relatives of the victims that were presumably buried in the graves in the areas of Sancaypata and Ccarpaccsa.
According to preliminary information given by the Ombudsman’s Office, between May 28 and 31, 1983, fifteen people from the different hamlets of the peasant community of Quispillacta, district of Chuschi, province of Cangallo were arrested by Army’s personnel from the Army base of Totos, because they allegedly were part of the Shining Path, after an extensive operation carried out with the support of neighboring communities. According to testimonies, the Army personnel carried out meetings with the population and had a list of the inhabitants allegedly involved with the Shining Path, who were called and separated from the rest of the population. Others were said to have been arrested in an arbitrary manner.

Lima August 26th, 2002

Joint Work Platform for the Investigation of Mass Graves