Photos of the victims from the massacre of Rancho Bejuco posted on the wall surrounding the cemetery in Rabinal, BV. (Photo Credits: Verdad y Justicia)
On the 29th of July, 1982 a group of civil patrollers and military commissioners committed a massacre in the community of Rancho Bejuco located in the municipality of El Chol, Baja Verapaz. This violence targeted a group of children and women fleeing violence in other communities. The 25 people killed in the Rancho Bejuco massacre were mostly children, some as young as 8 months old. They had fled their community of Xesiguan, Rabinal during the conflict and were looking for refuge in El Chol.
In 1997, a formal report denouncing the massacre was made. Two years later in 1999 an exhumation was performed, uncovering the bodies of 15 of the massacred. In 2022, 9 ex-civil-patrollers were captured and remanded to preventative custody by judge Erica Aifán of the high risk court D. One accused man is currently a fugitive from justice.
The case of Rancho Bejuco, in which the majority of the victims were children fleeing to safety, demonstrates the sinister plan and the structures in place by the Guatemalan state, such as the army and civil patrols, and the state coordination withcivil patrols in different municipalities to systematically destroy and eliminate the Maya Achi people.
BTS stands with the families who have been seeking justice for this crime throughout the decades.