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News > Latin America

Colombia Begins to Unearth Bodies from Mass Grave

  • The excavation process for the mass grave that may contain up to 300 victims has begun.

    The excavation process for the mass grave that may contain up to 300 victims has begun. | Photo: teleSUR

Published 5 August 2015

After the bodies are examined, many feel it will reveal proof of the dirty workings of the former President Alvaro Uribe.

Officials in Colombian formally begin excavations Wednesday of the mass grave site found last week in the northwest city of Medellin, and many expect the examination will reveal the truth about the former government of President Alvaro Uribe Velez and its alleged relationship with paramilitary groups.

The mass grave that was discovered in a site known as The Dump (La Escombrera) just outside the city of Medellin last week is expected to hold up to 300 bodies – victims of the dirty war between paramilitary groups, the Colombian army and guerrilla groups in the country.

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Then President Uribe, who governed from 2002 to 2010, has been directly implicated in carrying out atrocities across the nation through operations known as “false positives,” where military forces would shoot civilians who had nothing to do with armed groups to raise body counts.

The Colombian army in 2008, denounced Uribe, accusing him of carrying out these crimes as well as using other policies to promote violence in the country.

The former president is accused of declaring a “state of emergency” which granted the government certain powers, including the ability to restrict personal movement, detain people for suspicion with no evidence, and the right to carry out executions of citizens without trial – what has therefore implicated Uribe in the murders of some 90 to 300 people.  

According to teleSUR correspondent Vladimir Carrillo, the excavation process of the most recent mass grave will last about five months due to large amounts of waste that has been dumped in the area over the years.

Relatives of the missing have since appealed to the government to stop the dumping of waste in the area to facilitate the search.

According to media reports, the families have been threatened by unofficial groups that currently control The Dump. Medellin officials have also reported that there are criminal gangs interested in disrupting the exhumation work.

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