More than 10,000 bone fragments have been unearthed at a secret Argentine detention centre in the city of La Plata where political dissidents allegedly were held and tortured during Argentina's dictatorship, 1976/1983.
The remains discovered between February and September were from bodies that were thought to have been placed in a pit and doused with fuel then burned, Buenos Aires daily La Nacion reported. The remains were discovered by forensic anthropologists investigating claims of torture and murder at the Arana facility. They anticipated that the remains are so badly burnt that identification is going to be difficult. The discovery is seen as proof of persistent claims that students and dissidents were routinely rounded up in large numbers, tortured and killed at clandestine prisons during Argentina's so called "Dirty War". Forensic scientist Luis Fondebrider said: "It's the first time work has been done on such a large scale in a clandestine detention centre and producing this kind of result. But we didn't just find mass graves, also bodies that had been burned within the graves." Proof the bones are human came on December 10: the 25th anniversary of the end of the dictatorship in 1983. Evidence shows the bodies at Arana were thrown into pits and then covered with fuel and burning tires. Survivors from the detention center in La Plata region said military officials at the center tortured and killed detainees then burned the bodies. More than 200 bullet holes were also found in walls surrounding the grounds, evidence of executions. They were marked with red paint by scientists. Some of those behind the mass killings have been brought to justice. They include the police chief of Buenos Aires province, Miguel Etchecolatz. His conviction was a landmark ruling but his main accuser, who was held at Arana, has since disappeared. His remains have not been found. According to human rights groups an estimated 30.000 were killed during Argentina's military dictatorship but only 13.000 have been proven.