April 11, 2000

Digging to resume at site of Salvadoran massacre

                   SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) -- For the first time in seven years, forensic
                   anthropologists will resume the search for bodies Wednesday at the site of one
                   of the worst massacres in El Salvador's civil war.

                   Local residents and human rights groups believe that more than 1,000 people
                   were killed by soldiers in the December 11, 1981 massacre in El Mozote, 80
                   miles east of San Salvador. The bodies were buried in mass graves by residents
                   of neighboring communities.

                   In late 1992 to early 1993, the bodies of 147 villagers, mostly children and the
                   elderly, were uncovered in El Mozote. But the digging stopped because of a lack
                   of funding, said Maria Julia Hernandez, human rights director for the San
                   Salvador Roman Catholic archdiocese.

                   A team led by a group of Argentinian forensic scientists plan to arrive
                   Wednesday in El Mozote to begin preliminary work. The digging is expected to
                   begin in about two weeks and last two months.

                   Hernandez said the dig will be "a scientific action with humanitarian goals," and
                   said it could serve to gather evidence for future legal proceedings.

                   An amnesty approved in 1992, two months after peace accords were signed,
                   prevents the prosecution of soldiers, guerrillas and civilians for any atrocities
                   committed from 1980 to 1990.