TEGUCIGALPA – The remains of at least eight murder victims have been found in mass graves in northern Honduras during an investigation that was begun nearly a month ago, the government said Tuesday.
The spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, Elvis Guzman, told Efe that the eighth set of remains was found on Monday.
“This is a man, estimated to be around 40. He was buried with his hands tied behind him. It’s a macabre deed that occurred in Ciudad Planeta,” he said.
The search for graves was begun a few days after an armed clash between police and suspected members of the Mara 18 gang, seven of whom were killed.
Police said residents of Ciudad Planeta began reporting the existence of common graves in the area, and that spurred authorities to launch the investigation.
The search team, consisting of about 25 people, is working in an area about 1 hectare (2.2 acres) in size where several graves have been discovered where initially it was thought that at least 15 people were interred.
However, Guzman said, other residents told authorities that as many as 40 people could be buried in the area.
Police suspect that two of their officers, who were murdered by suspected gang members, could be buried at Ciudad Planeta, where security forces have had to substantially increase their presence and vigilance to protect the local residents and the grave investigation team.
Guzman said that the majority of the houses located near the tract of land where the investigation is under way have been abandoned for some time, perhaps for fear of reprisals by the gang members who have controlled Ciudad Planeta.
Honduras is experiencing a significant wave of violence that is taking the lives of about 15 people each day, on average. EFE