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Two farmworkers killed in Honduras land dispute

February 25, 2013

TEGUCIGALPA – Two farmworkers were found dead in a valley in northeastern Honduras where a conflict over land has claimed 90 lives in the past three years, members of a farmworkers rights movement said Monday.

The two men were abducted on Thursday from a camp in Aguán Valley, and their bodies were found Sunday near a farm, the Aguán Unified Farmworkers Movement said.

The bodies showed signs of torture, and the victims were tied, burned and executed with firearms, the group said.

Another 55-year-old farmworker was killed on Feb. 16 by assailants who shot him when he returned home.

Last week, farmer organizations accused the military of planning to break up the groups fighting for land in the valley.

The conflict erupted in January 2010 after some 5,000 landless laborers occupied 7,000 hectares of land, setting off a spiral of violence between landowners and squatters.

The land had been given to poor farmers in 1980 as part of a land reform program, but a 1992 law allowed land to be resold, and some recipients sold their parcels at low prices.

In August, the government ordered troops and police into the valley in response to the increasing violence, but the killings have continued.

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