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  Exhumations in Lucanamarca



I. The district of Santiago de Lucanamarca

The district of Santiago de Lucanamarca, initially part of the province of Víctor Fajardo, was created on January 29, 1965, by Law No. 15410.

Santiago de Lucanamarca is the capital of the district, which also includes: San José de Huarcaya, San Antonio de Julo, Santa Rosa de Ccocha, La Merced de Tío, Asunción de Erpa and San Martín de Tíopampa.

Later on, the province of Huancasancos was created, and included the districts of Sacsamarca, Carapo, Santiago de Lucanamarca and Sancos. Huancasancos is the capital of the province of Huancasancos.

Lucanamarca is essentially a ranching community (sheep and cattle), with little farmland because of its difficult terrain. In spite of that, the locals have been able to use some of the land for farming by using a terrace system, which is a scenic part of the landscape there.

According to the national institute of statistics (INEI), the population counted in the 1993 census was 10,213, of which 4,842 were men and 5,371 women. In the district of Sancos, the population was 3,155; in Carapo, 2,624; Sacsamarca 1,905 and in Santiago de Lucanamarca, 2,529.

According to the census of 1996, the population was 10,591 of which 54.7% was the rural population. The population estimated for the year 2000 according to INEI was 10,816.

II. Brief summary of the violence in the province of Huancasancos.

The operations of Sendero Luminoso in the area started in the seventies. They were essentially the work of teachers at “Los Andes” school, who taught young people in the area. Some sectors of the population supported this organization at first. However, it can’t be said that this was an extensive program aimed at the large rural sector. In its most intense phase, the war in the province of Huancasancos was short: it took place around the end of 1982, and during the years 1983 and 1984. The massacres were in retaliation for the local uprising against the domination and abuse by Sendero Luminoso. Starting in March, 1983 a group of police, known as “sinchis”, were based in Sancos. They too committed murders and abusive acts against the local people. Many people in the area, especially young people, were murdered by these agents, and their bodies were found buried in numerous graves around that area. Later, there were more attacks by SL which were fended off by the local people and the police. Finally, the last act related to the period of violence was on June 19, 1992, when a column of terrorists ambushed a vehicle carrying all the authorities of the province, the head of the military there, and 11 soldiers, at a place called Huachhuaqasa. All of the occupants of the vehicle were killed.

III. Background: oppression by Sendero Luminoso and rural rebellion.

Starting in 1982, SL dominated in the province of Huancasancos. The local authorities were replaced by Sendero authorities and “the government of the people” was established.

In May of 1982, Juan López Liceras (comrade "Víctor") assumed the military and political authority in the “liberated” area of Huancasancos. López Liceras was a teacher at the “Los Andes” school. Previously, the terrorists had worked for several years forming cadres of “people’s schools” on the outskirts of the town. However, starting in May, 1982, their activities were more out in the open. After the installation of the “new government” in Huancasancos, the terrorists under López Liceras started a “liberating” and “consciousness-raising” tour around the towns near Huancasancos.

Toward the end of 1982, in the month of October, the terrorists started murdering the biggest property owners in the area, those considered to be wealthy, or “gamonalillos” in their language. One of the first to be killed was Mr. Alejandro Marquina Martínez. After the murder of Marquina, which took place in the town square of Huancasancos, his goods and cattle were divided among the local people. Even those who didn’t agree with the ideas of Sendero Luminoso had to accept these “gifts” or risk being considered informers or traitors to the cause.

In January of 1983, the mayor of Huancasancos, Mr. Aquiles Sumari, was relieved of his duties and Juan López Liceras (comrade "Víctor") took over the town hall from where he governed with a “people’s committee”. His first decision was to confiscate the community farm of Huancasancos and distribute the cattle among the population of neighboring communities.

On Sunday, February 15, 1983, the people of Huancasancos were preparing for their annual carnival, a deeply-rooted custom in the Andes. Comrade "Víctor" authorized and presided over the celebration. The next day, the 16 of February, the population of Sacsamarca rose up against SL. Two Sendero leaders were captured and killed. Two others managed to escape to Sancos and notify the terrorists there.

The people of Sacsamarca, anticipating an attack by Sendero, managed to send a representative to Huancapi to inform the Army. That same afternoon of February 16, SL attacked Sacsamarca, entering the town and taking 30 residents to Huancasancos.

The next day, the 17 of February, a “people’s trial” was held. All 30 prisoners were sentenced to death. Half of them were condemned to be shot to death, and the others baked in the oven of the Nazario Alvarado bakery in Huancasancos. When those sentenced to be baked to death were already in the oven, 3 military helicopters arrived and the terrorists fled. The “sinchis” arriving in the helicopters disembarked shooting, freeing the prisoners but killing 6 innocent people.

The following day, the "sinchis" ordered the burial of the dead and named new authorities in Sacsamarca: Zenaido Sumari and Honorio Martínez. The new authorities requested weapons to defend themselves against the subversives, but their request wasn’t granted.

On February 20, the people of Huancasancos met in the town square and held a ceremony to express their loyalty to Peru, singing the national anthem and pledging allegiance to the Peruvian flag. Later, Juan López Liceras and other terrorists arrived armed with guns and dynamite. Apparently, they were arriving from the mountain heights where they had been killing off cattle. They surrounded the people who were in the town square. The townspeople initiated the attack, using rocks and sticks. The furious crowd killed several terrorists and chased others, who fled. Several townspeople were injured. López Liceras was pursued to a house, where he was captured and dragged to the town square. Then the women of the town took over, literally beating him to death.

IV. The process in Lucanamarca

In Lucanamarca, Sendero Luminoso had started their operations early on. The locals say that around the end of the seventies, professors and students from the University of Huamanga entered the area doing political work. In 1982, comrades Omar (from Hualla) and Carla, who was apparently from the coast, came “officially” to start the war, holding a meeting with the community and appointing several local representatives. Those named were mostly young people, such as brothers Alfredo and Efraín Huaripaucar, who were from Huarcaya, brothers Olegario, Nicanor and Gilber Curitomay Huancahuari, Octavio and Froylán Ruiz, Walter and Zenón Allaucca from Lucanamarca, and Jorge Sumari de Erpa, among others.

Between September, 1982 and February, 1983, the people of Lucanamarca were the victims of several terrorist acts by SL. They killed at least 7 people, among them: Abraham Huamaccto Quispe (20), on September 26, 1982 in Tiopampa; on January 18, 1983, Román Misaico Quichua (25) was murdered in la Merced de Tío; On January 30, 1983, Pascual Leonardo Misaico Aronés (57) from Lucanamarca and Rufino Huaripaucar Allccahuamán (26) from Ccocha were killed; on February 17, Eulogia Flores de Huancahuari (69), her son-in-law, Teófilo Mavila Riveros (29) and Marciano Huancahuari Allaucca (74) were murdered in the town square of Lucanamarca. Marciano Huancahuari was one of the community members who had the most property and cattle. Mr. Huancahuari had problems with the Curitomay brothers (Olegario, Nicario and Gilber), because of pending litigation with them over a piece of family property. They were relatives on the Curitomays’ mother’s side. The locals say that Mr. Huancahuari had paid protection money to SL so he wouldn’t be bothered; however, in the end he was pressured to give up his land and cattle in benefit of the people. Since he didn’t want to “donate” his goods, Olegario ordered his murder. Lastly, on February 24, 1983 Sendero murdered Manuel Fulgencio Casavilca Quichua (72) in Lucanamarca.

Starting in December, 1982 SL acted freely in Lucanamarca, holding meetings in the plazas and winning some people over with the distribution of the goods “donated” or confiscated. Discontent grew among the population. The death of Mr. Marciano Huancahuari caused consternation among them. His property was distributed among those sympathetic to SL.

Lucanamarca and its annexes are cattle ranching communities. Part of the cattle belonged to the community collectively. The proceeds from the sale of these cattle was used, as it still is now, for public works, such as fixing up the church, the highway between Lucanamarca and Huancasancos, and other projects.

Sendero Luminoso had imposed restrictions on the population: they didn’t allow free trade, nor travel to places outside the district jurisdiction, especially toward the coast. These restrictions hurt them financially, especially the ranchers who were used to selling their cattle on the coast. Likewise, they saw how their herds were diminishing due to SL raids. This, in addition to the destitution and replacement of their local authorities, the threats and coercion with which Sendero “governed” the area, was a hopeless situation for the community members.

Because of these excesses and the systematic confiscation of their goods, the authorities of Lucanamarca organized and formed the Defense Committee of Lucanamarca with the principal purpose of providing security.

The cattle of the community ranch were often rustled by Olegario Curitomay himself, and his henchmen, Agustín Callañaupa and Zenón Allaucca. Olegario was also one of the biggest cattle sellers in Lucanamarca; but obviously, Sendero’s rules didn’t apply to him, so he had commercial advantages.

Olegario Curitomay was already a fugitive in those days. After the uprising of Sacsamarca and Huancasancos, the “sinchis” had carried out several operations in the Lucanamarca area.

On February 23, a Sendero Luminoso group entered the town, with the purpose of settling the score with the authorities and the members of the Defense Committee of Lucanamarca. The terrorists called a town meeting, told the women of the town to prepare food in the town square, and sent messengers to the homes of the people on their list to invite them to the meeting. They didn’t go to the meeting because they supposed that SL was looking for them to kill them. Some of the townspeople alerted the “sinchis” in Huancasancos; the police arrived unexpectedly in Lucanamarca, and there was a battle in an area called Yunkawaycco, in which several young terrorists were killed: Glorinda Calderón, 19, Reynaldo Huaripaucar Quincho, 15, and Antenor Ruiz Curitomay, 14, among others, all students of “Los Andes” School. The latter two young men were from Lucanamarca and the young woman from Huancasancos.

In the first part of March, 1983, the community members from Huarcaya ambushed terrorists Alfredo and Efraín Huaripaucar, whom they killed along with 5 other members of SL.

On March 10, there was a “summit meeting” among the authorities of the districts of Sacsamarca, Huancasancos and Lucanamarca, in which they agreed to confront Sendero. This motivated the local authorities of Lucanamarca to start preparing for the capture of Olegario Curitomay.

The authorities of Lucanamarca convinced Baldomero Curitomay to tell them where Olegario was hiding out, since he couldn’t leave the district because he didn’t have his identification documents with him. Olegario was captured by the authorities on March 27, 1983 and taken to the town square, where he was beaten, shot and finally burned. His remains were buried outside the town. Before and after the death of Olegario, several members (at least 6 people) from the SL base in the area suffered the same fate as Olegario.

The authorities expected retaliation by Sendero, whose threat had already been made evident; threats had been received that nothing would be left of Lucanamarca. They decided to send a Commission, led by Mr. Teófanes Allccahuamán, to Huancapi to request military backup.

The committee arrived in Huancapi and was sent immediately in a military convoy to the Cabitos base in Haumanga. There they talked to General Noel, who sent them back with 60 soldiers. On April 3, the committee was on the way to Lucanamarca.

When the troops arrived in Lucanamarca at noon on April 4, the massacre had already occurred.

The people of Lucanamarca, following the same logic as that of the people of Sacsamarca and Sancos, rebelled against SL, tired of the abuse, of not being able to travel freely, of having their property taken away from them to be redistributed, of their people being murdered. This provoked the attack by SL against the population of Lucanamarca.

V. The occurrence of April 3, 1983: The massacre of Lucanamarca

The SL massacre was planned by the central leadership of the terrorist group, according to Abimael Guzmán himself in the so-called “Interview of the Century”1. Following are some excerpts from that interview: “Around the end of 82 the armed forces arrived (...) forming bands and using masses of people under pressure on the front line, as a parapet...Faced with the use of bands and the reactionary military action, we responded with an action: Lucanamarca, neither they nor we have forgotten, because there they saw a reaction they didn’t imagine; there, more than 80 people were annihilated, that is reality (...) it was the Central Leadership itself that planned the action and arranged things, that’s how it was”.

For that purpose, Sendero leaders from different parts of Ayacucho had been called. The information gathered by COMISEDH in the southern part of the department of Ayacucho confirms that SL leaders from different communities of the provinces of Vilcashuamán, Fajardo and Cangallo participated.

The action started in the highlands of Yanaccollpa where a contingent of an estimated 80-100 Sendero members and rural people that had been taken by SL from other places had arrived from the highlands of Vilcanchos. Several witnesses say that some members of Sendero were dressed in green uniforms, similar to military uniforms, and the rest wore civilian clothes, and some wore ski masks. Most of them were armed with machetes, axes and knives, and others carried guns. Sendero travelled in groups of 30-35 people.

In Yanaccollpa, at about 6 in the morning, the people from neighboring ranches gathered at the home of Antonio Quincho, where there was supposed to be a meeting. The meeting was never held; 29 people, among them elderly people, women and children, were hacked to death with hatchets and machetes.

Then the terrorists continued on their route and headed toward the community farm at Ataccara, where they arrived between 8 and 9 a.m. approximately and murdered 3 people, among them an infant.

Afterward, they headed toward the Llacchua ranch, where they arrived at about 11 in the morning and killed 8 people, among them 5 minors. In Llacchua, the terrorists learned that community members were working on a community project, repairing the highway between Lucanamarca and Huancasancos; and they headed there, taking Mr. Darío Allaucca Chaupín with them as a guide.

The community members had started the work in Huancasancos and were advancing toward Lucanamarca. At about 12 noon, the workers (about 60) were resting after having lunch at a place called Toromachay. At that moment, a messenger on horseback arrived from the highlands of Ataccara to warn them of a supposed attack by SL on the community’s cattle. The messenger, Mr. Elías Tacas, didn’t know anything about the deaths.

The community members organized and decided to send a group, which volunteered as lookouts, to the mountain heights to see what SL was up to. Most of them were young and willing to risk running into Sendero. The messenger from the highlands was also among them.

Another bigger group decided to return to Lucanamarca to prepare their provisions and warm clothing, since they planned to go to the highlands to pursue Sendero. Also, 3 others left for Huancasancos to inform the “sinchis”; one of those people was Timoteo Huaripaucar.

In the end, the group that was going to the highlands to see what Sendero was doing met up with the terrorists at Muylacruz, where they were killed by the terrorists. At this place, there were three people who escaped death: one was passing through, a man from Huancasancos who was on his way to his ranch when he was captured and robbed of his horses by the terrorists. He says that he managed to escape because he argued that he had nothing to do with the people from Lucanamarca. The other two who were saved were Mr. Cirilo Curitomay, an uncle of local SL leaders, and their brother, Baldomero Curitomay.

At about 4 in the afternoon, a group of approximately 32 SL members entered the town of Lucanamarca; the rest stayed nearby. They were under the command of a teacher who had previously done political work in the area. The townspeople sustain that, without seeing his face because it was covered by a ski mask, they recognized his voice, his size, because he was tall, the shape of his nose outlined under the mask, and his shape.

The townspeople had time to escape; however, they decided to face the terrorists and defend their homes which they thought would be burned. They waited for Sendero on a hill called Calvary, armed with sticks and slingshots; however, the fight was uneven because Sendero started shooting guns. The locals fled downhill, but many were killed instantly and others were caught and taken to the town square. In front of the church, in the presence of women and children gathered there, the bloody ritual was carried out, resulting in the deaths of 18 people.

The witnesses say that as the terrorists entered the town, they shouted: “Death to informers and traitors” and “Let the traitors pay”.

The local people still remember the young man who saved the lives of the women and children present. He was behind the bell tower of the church, and when he saw that after killing the men, the terrorists were getting ready to kill the women and children, the young man yelled that the “sinchis” were very near the town. The terrorists dropped the dynamite with which they were going to blow up the women, and decided to leave, but not without leaving the city hall and community center in flames.

The "sinchis" arrived an hour after the terrorists had left the town; they were under the command of a lieutenant. The townspeople gave them food so that they could pursue the terrorists. However, they didn’t do it; they returned to Huancasancos.

The next day, General Noel arrived by helicopter, took the injured to Ayacucho and left a detachment of soldiers to comb the area.

VI. The victims

In reality, the exact number of victims of the massacre isn’t known for certain. There was never an investigation to clarify these facts. Estimates ranged from 69 to 82 local people killed. The authorities had a list of 82 people, including people who died in occurrences before and after April 3.

We were able to match information existing in documents that are in the hands of the former authorities, in what was the Registry of Marital Status, now RENIEC (death certificates), from the families themselves whose testimonies and documents of the victims were obtained by COMISEDH last July and the week of October 1-9, as well as diverse journalistic materials from that period, which result in a total of 69 people killed.2 This data has been confirmed through personal interviews with all the relatives of the victims who died, as well as a visit together with them to the places where the bodies are buried in graves and cemeteries.

view charts

VII. The graves

The victims were buried at the same places they died and cemeteries in the area. The graves are located in areas over 4000 feet above sea level. The victims were placed in mass graves, as well as some individual graves.

view charts

VIII. The inscription of the deaths in the Public Registry

After the SL massacre, the municipal authorities of Lucanamarca officially requested authorization from the Superior Court of Justice of Ayacucho to bury the bodies of the victims. Apparently (no documents exist), the Court gave the Justice of the Peace special authorization to certify the deaths and order the burial of the bodies, which was done during the days following the massacre: April 4, 5 and 6, 1983.

Although, the Justice of the Peace had ordered that the bodies be buried in the places where the victims had died, some people buried their relatives in their community cemeteries. Afterward, on April 28, the Justice of the Peace sent an official letter (Of. No. 10-83-JPSL) to the Mayor of Lucanamarca, with a list of the dead, duly identified with their identification documents, for the purpose of registering their deaths in the public records. The Mayor ordered the inscription of the deaths in the public records the same day he received the official communication. However, a review of the death certificates showed that some had been prepared prior to the official communication from the Justice of the Peace.

In another document, dated May 6, 1983, the President of the Superior Court of Justice was just responding officially to the Mayor of Lucanamarca, telling him that soon he would be sending the authorization to proceed with the inscription of the deaths of the victims killed on April 3. The secretary of the Public Records Office says that the authorization never arrived; which leads to the deduction that the inscription of the death of the 69 people was done informally, without establishing the causes of death.

IX. The witnesses and survivors of the event

Several people were witnesses to the events in the different places where they occurred. We were able to interview the majority of these witnesses, who have given us a very clear idea of what happened in Lucanamarca on April 3, 1983.

ver lista de testigos y sobrevivientes

X. What happened in Lucanamarca after the Sendero massacre?

The local people killed the parents of Olegario Curitomay the day after the massacre, on the morning of April 4. His mother, María de la O Allaucca Tacas was hanged at City Hall, and his father was hacked to death with an ax in the Town Square.

Some time after the massacre, a “sinchi” base was established right in the town of Lucanamarca. The townspeople thought their nightmares were over at last, but the abuse continued. After the SL massacre, it was the "sinchis" who stole, raped the women and killed many people. The community gave them a new building to use as their main base. When they left, the building was in shambles. The people say that when the police were drunk, everyone hid in their houses because the policemen fired their guns indiscriminately. During one of these “parties”, the police shot the town generator which had recently been donated in 1983. They were never able to repair it. The townspeople now ask who will pay for all this damage. Sendero also caused a lot of material damage, such as the burning of the City Hall building, the community center, and other destruction.

Later, Sendero attacked different communities of Huancasancos several times: on May 21, 1983, SL attacked Sacsamarca and was repelled by the community members and the "sinchis". Two “sinchis” and several locals died; but Sendero suffered many losses. Even “comrade Omar” and other important SL leaders were killed by the "sinchis". In January of 1984, Ms. Dominga Sumari was killed on one of the roads leading to Huancasancos. Later, SL entered San Martín de Tiopampa on June 12, 1984, killing a person there. Huancasancos itself was attacked again on June 23, 1984. The police tried to defend the town. Two "sinchis" were killed in the attack, and while the other police were preoccupied with the terrorists, a group of terrorists conducted a house-to-house search for 14 people and killed them. Once more, Lucanamarca was attacked on July 30, 1984. SL attacked San Martín de Tiopampa, which pertains to Lucanamarca, and killed 7 local authorities.

On August 13, 1984, Mr. Germán Huaripaucar Rimachi was killed by “sinchi” Juan Carlos Chacón Palomino in the town square of Lucanamarca. In December of 1984, 3 local authorities of Lucanamarca disappeared from the Pampa Cangallo base: Mr. Teodro Huancahuari Matías (Justice of the Peace and President of the Community), Mauro Huancahuari Matías (Lt. Mayor) and Ernesto Contreras Pianto (member of the Community Council). These people, together with 10 others, had been included in a police investigation because of an accusation made by Mr. Gumercindo Huancahuari, son of Mr. Marciano Huancahuari, whom SL had killed in Lucanamarca.

On March 8, 1995 the teacher Arístides Allaucca García died in unusual circumstances. He was found on the school patio.

On February 12, 1989 Mr. Conrado Callañaupa Casavilca was murdered by unknown assassins. On December 14 of the same year, Mr. Santos Huamanculí Huaripaucar and Mr. Edilberto Alca Tacas were killed violently in the highlands of ChaupiQocha.

On March 14, 1992 Ms. Baselisa Huancahuari Morales was killed in Lucanamarca. The details of her death are unclear.

On October 22, 1992, Mr. Serapio Allccahuamán Quispe was also murdered in San Martín Tiopampa.

Finally, on July 7, 1994, teacher Livio Antonio Quincho Paucar was killed by a policeman with the nickname of “gypsy” in unclear circumstances. The “sinchi” base in Lacanamarca was finally closed in 1996.

1 Published in 1988, in El Diario.
2 List of victims by place of death is attached.
3 List prepared taking into account the testimonies of family members interviewed by COMISEDH