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54 bodies found in common graves in Peru

Picture released in Lima by the Peruvian Ministry of Interior shows police on August 12, 2013 in Masamari, carrying a body bag containing one of three terrorists killed in a skirmish in the town of Llochegua
Picture released in Lima by the Peruvian Ministry of Interior shows police on August 12, 2013 in Masamari, carrying a body bag containing one of three terrorists killed in a skirmish in the town of Llochegua

The remains of 54 people, mostly women and children, have been found in common graves in southern Peru, prosecutors said.

The remains, including 26 children and 18 women who had been killed by rifle fire, were found in 19 graves in the town of Chungui.

"For the moment it cannot be determined if they were executed by the (Maoist) Shining Path or the army," prosecutors said, citing forensics specialists.

Experts believe the victims were killed perhaps in 1986 during the first term of president Alan García (1985-1990).

Peru defeated the Shining Path in the 1990s. Its leaders are in jail including founder Abimael Guzman, who is serving a life sentence.

The insurgency started in May 1980 and lasted two decades. Some 69,000 were killed or disappeared and presumed killed, a truth commission found.

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