Thousands of bones are being exhumed from a newly-discovered mass grave at Merlo cemetery, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
JULY 28. 1984 MERLO, NEAR BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (REUTERS ARGENTINA) (U)
GV Bulldozer moving across site and moving earth as people dig. (3 SHOTS) 0.16
GV Policeman and van. 0.19
GV People in cemetery watching a police car passes. 0.23
SV Diggers removing bones and placing in bag. 0.52
LV Bag of bones being loaded into police van. 0.58
GV More bones being picked out of soil and put in bag. 1.15
Background: Thousands of bones are being exhumed from a newly-discovered mass grave at Merlo cemetery, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. It is the largest grave found to date in the Argentine government's campaign to solve the mysterious disappearance of some 30,000 citizens during the so-called "dirty war" of the last decade, when the then military rulers took a hard line against political and guerrilla opposition. It is thought at least 400 bodies were buried in Merlo grave, possibly in 1980 or 1981. Judge Daniel Radaelli has ordered the exhumation and bulldozers have been brought into the cemetery to assist the work. Officials are packing the bones in plastic bags for transport to centres of forensic research. While it is doubtful the remains can be individually identified, a team of United States forensic experts has stated there is enough evidence to suggest most of the victims were shot in the head. The work in the cemetery has coincided with the visit to Buenos Aires of French External Affairs Minister Claude Cheysson, who stated in the Argentine capital on July 27 that his government would continue pressing for an investigation into the fate of 15 French citizens listed among the "disappeared". Argentine President Raul Alfonsin has promised to bring the trial those responsible for mass murder during the years of military rule.