The Bone Hunters

**The Bone Hunters

**For 36 years, Central America was in the grip of a vicious civil war, which finally ended in 1996 with the signing of a peace accord. During this brutal conflict, more than 200,000 people were killed, with the worst violence occurring in Guatemala’s western highlands, home to the country’s large Mayan Indian population. Now, a group of forensic anthropologists are on a mission to find and identify the war’s innocent victims murdered by government soldiers over two decades ago.

Saul Gonzalez reports on how the investigative search for victims in Guatemala’s one-time killing fields is helping the city confront the human costs of its civil war and bring peace and dignity to the families of those who vanished during the decades-long massacre. Forensic anthropologist Fredy Peccerelli, founder and director of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, which is directing the exhumation of human remains, observes: “We are talking about very violent crimes and very repetitive crimes. The idea was not only to wipe out the possibility of communism. It was also to wipe out certain group of people, those people were the Maya. Anyone who the army felt was a threat was to be wiped out. That included women; it included the children; it included the elderly. It basically included everyone who was singled out.” (Rebroadcast from July 22, 2005)

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