UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — A retired general in El Salvador recognized on Friday the first responsibility of the armed forces for a famous massacre in 1981 that killed more than 1,000 people during the country’s civil war.
Juan Rafael Bustillo, a former commander of the Air Force, told a court that the Atlacatel battalion carried out the massacre in eastern El Salvador, during which villagers, most of them women and children, were killed.
A UN report said soldiers tortured and executed more than a thousand residents of Mozot and its surrounding villages in Morazán, 180 km northeast of San Salvador, while searching for rebels in December 1981.
Bustillo testified during a court hearing in the town of San Francisco Gutera in Morazán that he was not involved in the operation, which he said took place on the orders of Colonel Domingo Monterosa, the leader of the scary library of Atlacatl.
Monterosa died in 1984 in a helicopter explosion in the east of the country.
The civil war in El Salvador took place between 1980 and 1992 between leftist rebels and the US-backed Salvadoran army, which led to an estimated 75,000 deaths and eight thousand disappeared.
A judge ordered that the case be reopened in 2016. Sixteen military officials, including former Defense Minister Guillermo Garcia, are being tried for the massacre.
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