Peru returns remains of 40 farmers killed by Shining Path

CCANO, Peru (AP) — The remains of 40 peasants killed more than two decades ago by Maoist-inspired rebels have been returned to their loved ones for burial, Peru’s government said Thursday.

Justice Minister Aldo Vasquez asked for forgiveness on behalf of the Peruvian state for its role in the conflict at a ceremony held Wednesday with the support of the International Red Cross in the central highland village of Ccano.

Many of the victims, including children and the elderly, were killed while praying inside a church that was attacked by Shining Path guerrillas in 1991.

In recent years forensic teams have exhumed and identified the remains of thousands victims of Peru’s 1980-2000 conflict. Fighting in the Andean nation is believed to have claimed more than 70,000 lives.