International

Remains of 26 victims of Peru's Shining Path handed over

The remains of 26 Peruvians, victims of an atrocity carried out by Maoist rebels more than three decades ago, were handed over to their families in a ceremony Wednesday, officials said.

Peru's President Martin Vizcarra, pictured in October 2018, has approved a law that will create a gene bank to help in the search for Peru's "disappeared"
Peru's President Martin Vizcarra, pictured in October 2018, has approved a law that will create a gene bank to help in the search for Peru's "disappeared" (AFP)

The remains of 26 Peruvians, victims of an atrocity carried out by Maoist rebels more than three decades ago, were handed over to their families in a ceremony Wednesday, officials said.

The handover, following identification procedures finalized 34 years after their deaths, took place in the farming community of Llacchuas in Peru's Ayacucho region.

The mountainous region was the epicenter of a two-decade insurgency by Shining Path guerrillas

Prior to the handover of the remains by government officials, families of the victims bearing white coffins took part in a procession through the streets of the small town.

On April 22, 1984, guerrillas used guns, knives and machetes to kill 26 peasant farmers -- men and women -- whose families have since spent decades looking for their remains and demanding justice.

In September, President Martin Vizcarra approved a law that will create a gene bank to help in the search for Peru's "disappeared."

The insurgency, and government repression, was responsible for the deaths of some 70,000 people from 1980-2000.

A 2003 report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that just under half were killed by the Shining Path while a third died at the hands of government security forces and local militias. The rest were unattributed.