Following testimonies about the El Mozote massacre

Oscar Antonio Romero Martínez, 55, and Adelio Díaz Chicas, 41, survivors of the massacres at El Mozote and Cerro Pando, gave their testimonies before the Second Trial Judge in San Francisco Gotera, Morazán.

These testimonies were given on the eve of the anniversary of the December 10, 1981 massacres at El Mozote and surrounding places including Cerro Pando, Jocote Amarillo, Los Toriles, Rancheria, and other villages, carried out by troops from various military units, including the Atlacatl Battalion.

Both witnesses, marked by the horror of the military incursion in the area, hope for the long-awaited justice they have been denied for more than three decades.

Romero Martínez was 18 years old when soldiers forced him to act as their guide on the route to El Mozote. He lived with his family in Cumaro, Morazán.

"They gave me a machete to cut a path through the mountain, and we got to the Las Pilas hill, above the Sapo river, on December 9 at 7:00 in the morning. We found Moisés Claros dead; he had been shot, his foot was cut off in front of him. He was 65 years old. Inside his house, his whole family was dead. It was scary to see that," he said.

One of the most important points the witness established was the description of the moment when the inhabitants of El Mozote were divided into groups of women, men, and children. They were tied up, and some had already been killed, by the military personnel who participated in the operation.

"The soldiers were talking to each other. They were waiting for orders from military leadership to tell them what to do. After a few hours, they let me go. When I looked back again I saw black smoke. My family and I went to Cumaro,” he said.

"I want justice for the damage they have done," said Sanchez Chicas, the second witness of the day and a survivor of the massacre at Cerro Pando. Although he does not remember the exact date of the massacre, he was emphatic in pointing to the Atlacatl Battlion as the ones behind the deaths of his family members.

"I was six years old and I was playing with my brother when a soldier came in and started shooting. It was 1:30 in the afternoon. I remember he wounded my arm, and then I ran to another part of the house. I hid inside the kitchen stove. From there, I saw my mother Saturnina Díaz, who was nursing a 40-day-old girl, get shot. She fell down, and I saw how the baby fell to the ground and died with her there."

Then the soldiers killed his sister and brother. They set the house on fire, and when he started feeling the heat, he ran away. A woman took him to a shelter, where he found his grandfather, who took him to the hospital.

Private prosecutors Wilfredo Medrano, from Tutela Legal "María Julia Hernández," and David Morales, from Cristosal, together with the public prosecutors, agreed that the testimonies point to the responsibility of the Armed Forces leadership in these crimes against humanity.

Translated from Orellana, G. S. (1 de deciembre, 2017). Siguen los testimonios sobre masacre de El Mozote. Diario Co Latino. Retrieved from www.diariocolatino.com/siguen-los-testimonios-masacre-mozote.

Hannah Rose Nelson