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Possible Pinochet-era human remains found in Chile

AFP  |  Santiago 

Chilean police have discovered human remains near a restaurant linked to a German enclave where opposition figures were tortured and killed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

The remains were uncovered by a company digging for building materials, an official from the prosecutor's office in the Biobio region told AFP yesterday.

The civil police found "human bones: long bones and a piece of the skull," Bulnes police chief Claudio Ramos told a local radio, adding that more bone fragments could be seen embedded in the dirt.

He said he could not specify whether the bones came from one or more individuals, nor did he specify cause of death, though he noted the skull appeared to have a hole in it.

An investigation is underway.

The remains were found some 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of the former Colonia Dignidad, which was later renamed "Villa Baviera" - also the name of the restaurant where these remains were found.

The Colonia Dignidad was a 13,000 hectare commune founded in southern Chile in 1961 by former Nazi Paul Schaefer.

The site was used by the Pinochet dictatorship to torture and disappear political prisoners.

An earlier investigation also found the commune mistreated the German workers who lived there and sexually abused minors.

Schaefer died in jail in 2010 at age 88 while serving a 20-year sentence for murder, sexual abuse of minors and torture.

Under Pinochet's rule between 1973 and 1990, some 38,000 people were tortured and more than 3,000 killed and disappeared. Most of their remains have never been found nor identified.

First Published: Wed, February 26 2014. 08:30 IST