Colombia: Missing conflict victims identified

Indigenous women of the Embera ethnic group, among 200 people displaced from their land, at a park in Bogota, Colombia on 30 April, 2011 Indigenous communities have suffered some of the worst violence

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The remains of around 10,000 people who disappeared during Colombia's armed internal conflict have now been identified.

The Colombian interior minister, German Vargas Lleras, made the announcement at a news conference in Bogota.

Among the dead are kidnap victims buried in unmarked mass graves.

Family members will soon be able to lay their relatives to rest and will be entitled to claim government compensation.

A total of 438 families have been told immediately that their relatives have been found. The rest will be informed in the days and weeks to come.

They will be entitled to claim up to $10,000 (£6,000) in compensation from the government.

The identified remains are from the past two decades of Colombia's long internal conflict.

For more than 40 years, Colombia has seen fighting and violence by guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug gangs, and the security forces.

A spokeswoman from the Colombian interior ministry told the BBC that forensic scientists had used advanced finger-printing technology to find the missing people.

The experts are still trying to identify a further 10,000 remains, but their advanced state of decomposition makes it a slow task.

New victim law

Analysts says the government of President Juan Manuel Santos is currently trying to heal old wounds from the country's bitter conflict.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a law to compensate victims of the country's long-running civil conflict and return land to millions of displaced people.

One of the aims is to return land to up to four million people forced from their homes by rebels, paramilitaries and traffickers.

For more than 40 years, Colombia has seen fighting and violence by guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug gangs, and the security forces.

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