UK

Falkland Islands war cemetery vandalised

Two members of the British Army looking out over Goose Green from the Argentine memorial cemetery in Darwin on the Falkland Islands Image copyright PA

A memorial cemetery in the Falkland Islands where the remains of 237 Argentine soldiers are buried has been vandalised.

Police are investigating damage to a statue of the Virgin of Lujan, Argentina's patron saint.

Argentina's Foreign Ministry has written to the British embassy in Buenos Aires, asking the UK to launch an investigation.

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan said he was "appalled" by the incident.

Argentina's ministry said in a statement that the vandalism was "particularly regrettable" given the recent decision by Argentina and Britain to identify the remains of 123 Argentine soldiers buried in the cemetery in Darwin, East Falkland.

The work on identifying the unknown men is expected to take place between June and August this year, according to a report on the Argentine news agency Telam.

"This significant advance in such a sensitive humanitarian issue is not matched by the intolerance and violence displayed by those who attacked the final resting place of the Argentine combatants fallen in 1982," the ministry said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The statue in the cemetery in Darwin was previously targeted in 2012

The Falkland Islands government said the vandalism was "clearly distressing to the families and regretted by the people of the Falkland Islands".

Police said the statue and its case had been damaged.

Sir Alan wrote on Twitter: "Appalled to hear of act of vandalism at Darwin Cemetery in Falkland Islands. Welcome urgent response & investigation by FIG."

During the two-month conflict in 1982, 649 Argentine soldiers were killed, while 255 British service personnel died.

The conflict saw a taskforce recapture the British overseas territory in the South Atlantic after an invasion by Argentina.

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