December 1, 2017 / 5:38 PM / 10 months ago

Scientists identify remains of 88 Argentine soldiers on Falklands

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Forensic scientists have identified the remains of 88 Argentine soldiers buried in anonymous graves on the Falkland Islands after the country’s 1982 conflict with Britain, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday.

Argentine Falklands War veterans visit Darwin cemetery, where Argentine soldiers who died during the war were buried, in the Falkland Islands, March 12, 2012. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

The results were presented to Argentine and British delegations, and Argentine authorities would inform the families of the soldiers “directly and confidentially,” the ICRC said in a statement.

Scientists analyzed 122 sets of human remains in 121 anonymous graves in the Darwin Cemetery in the South Atlantic, an ICRC spokeswoman said. One of the graves, which were all marked ‘Argentine soldier only known to God,’ had two bodies.

The ICRC has been interviewing families of dead Argentine soldiers since 2012 and 107 have consented to DNA testing.

During Britain’s two-month war to reclaim the Falklands, which Argentines call the Malvinas, 255 British troops and about 650 Argentine soldiers died. The majority of the Argentines that perished were on a Navy ship that sank.

“For us, the process will end when all those who fell are identified,” said Ernesto Alonso, a veteran of the war.

While the South American country still claims the islands, President Mauricio Macri has adopted a softer tone than his predecessor Cristina Fernandez.

The two countries signed an agreement last December to try to identify the soldiers and to divide the $1.5 million of related costs. The ICRC forensic scientists, and two experts each from Argentina and Britain, began their efforts in June.

Reporting by Luc Cohen and Juan Bustamante; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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