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Report: Saharan victims in grave killed in 1976

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September 13, 2013 10:24 AM EST | AP


RABAT, Morocco — A Western Saharan organization says eight people, including two children, found in a common grave in the desert in February were victims of an extrajudicial killing by Moroccan forces.

Mohammed Moutawakil of the Saharan Association for Human Rights Violations by Morocco announced Friday that DNA tests had been done on the victims in the shallow desert grave and they were found to have disappeared in 1976.

Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony to its south in 1975, sparking off a war with the Polisario group, which wanted independence for the mineral-rich region. A U.N.-brokered cease-fire ended the fighting in 1990.

Moutawakil said he believed the victims were all killed by the Moroccan military. The Spanish forensics team's findings suggest, they were killed on the spot, according to Amnesty International.