Latin America & Caribbean

Guatemala's Ixil Mayans bury victims of 1982 massacre

Relatives carry coffins of some of the 31 villagers massacred during the civil war in 1982, in Santa Maria Nebaj, Guatemala, 30 July 2014
Image caption Hundreds of people turned out to the funeral procession

The remains of 31 indigenous Ixil Mayans, killed at the height of the Guatemala civil war, have been buried in the country's north-west.

Hundreds of people attended the ceremony in Nebaj, Quiche province, singing hymns and burning incense.

The army attacked the village of Xecax in 1982, accusing locals of supporting a left-wing insurgency.

An estimated 200,000 people were killed in the 1960-1996 civil war, the vast majority of them indigenous Mayans.

The bodies of many of those killed had been burned and dumped in mass graves. The remains were exhumed four years ago.

Forensic experts have succeeded in identifying only eight of the 31 Xecax victims.

Diego Rivera, head of the North Quiche Victims Association, said it had been difficult to identify the remains because many had turned to ashes.

Image caption Eight of the 31 victims' remains have been identified for forensic experts
Image caption The Ixil Maya ethnic group was targeted during the civil war

Guatemala's former military ruler, Efrain Rios Montt, is accused - among other charges - of ordering the deaths of 1,771 people of the Ixil Maya ethnic group during his time in office in 1982-83.

He has denied any responsibility.

Gen Riot Montt, 87, was convicted of genocide and war crimes in May 2013.

However, the conviction was overturned by the constitutional court, which argued he had been denied due process.

A retrial is scheduled for January 2015.

More on this story