BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A forensic study that identified the remains of 88 Argentine soldiers buried in a Falklands Islands cemetery after the 1982 war with Britain was presented to some of the families of the fallen troops Tuesday.

Argentina lost the war after troops from the South American country invaded the British-run archipelago. Both countries reached a deal last year to identify the remains.

Results of the report, which was led by the International Committee of the Red Cross, were presented to eight families at the headquarters of Argentina’s secretariat for human rights.

Eulogia Rodriguez, sister of soldier Macedonio Rodriguez, said the finding ended more than three decades of uncertainty, confirming that her brother is buried at Darwin cemetery in the islands that Argentina calls the Malvinas.

“We now know with name and last name that our brother is there,” she told The Associated Press.

“This comes from the fulfillment of a duty that the Argentine state had with the soldiers who died in the war of the Malvinas. And obviously, I also have to thank the goodwill of the U.K. that allowed for this identification.”

The Red Cross has said the identification process of 121 graves was highly successful. But it has yet to specify what will happen to the unidentified bodies. The multinational team of 14 experts exhumed, analyzed, sampled and documented the remains June 20-Aug. 7.

The remains were collected from graves with the inscription, “Soldado Argentino solo conocido por Dios,” meaning: Argentine soldier known only to God.

The samples were analyzed and compared with DNA samples from family members of some of the dead soldiers at a laboratory in Argentina. Laboratories in Britain and Spain conducted quality control of the DNA analyses.

In all, the war claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers.

Argentina still claims the islands. Britain says the Falklands are a self-governing entity under its protection.

“I celebrate that both countries have found a meeting point putting the humanitarian before everything else,” said Jose Luis Aparicio, a veteran of the war, who said he had to bury some of the fallen soldiers after he was captured by the British.

The bodies were later dug out by the British and transported to the cemetery on a lonely hill of the archipelago near Port Darwin.

“The families in Darwin will now find a name,” Aparicio said. “Not just an inscription.”


Associated Press writer Almudena Calatrava contributed to this report.

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PAUL BYRNE
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