Soldiers stole children in El Salvador civil war, new report says


Out to sea: Fishermen set off Oct. 23 from El Salvador's port of La Libertad in a holy procession in celebration of their patron saint.


Jose Cabezas

In at least nine cases, low-to-mid ranking soldiers in El Salvador abducted children during the country's civil war, the Associated Press reported. Some soldiers raised the children as their own while others gave them away or sold them. The AP interviewed a woman who reports being abducted and raped as a child.

The abductions, part of a "systematic pattern of forced disappearances," were uncovered by human rights group Probusqueda. Over 20 years, Probusqueda has received 921 reports of children who went missing during the war. Of those cases, 529 have not been solved. 

More from GlobalPost: Can El Salvador's gang truce hold?

The fighting lasted from 1980 until 1992, and claimed approximately 75,000 Salvadorans, Mike Allison, a political science professor in Pennsylvania, wrote in Al Jazeera last year.  The conflict took place between a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, called the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), and the government of El Salvador. Allison argued that both sides are guilty of human rights abuses.

The latest report makes El Salvador the second Latin American country proven to engage in child abductions during that time period, the AP says. The first country is Argentina, where from 1976 to 1983 soldiers stole the babies of political prisoners, as NPR reported last year