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Search for remains of Nogeun-ri massacre to begin next week

All Headlines 15:50 July 19, 2007

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will start next week to excavate the remains of victims of a U.S. massacre of the 1950-53 Korean War, officials said.

In July 1950, U.S. soldiers opened fire on an approaching line of South Korean refugees at Nogeun-ri, about 160km south of Seoul, believing communist North Korean soldiers might be hiding among them, according to a 2001 Pentagon report. Hundreds of South Koreans, including many women and children, were believed to have been killed.

The U.S. government expressed regret over the incident, but it's still unclear whether the mass killing took place under orders or was the result of panicky soldiers shooting at refugees.

The excavation will begin on July 27, when an annual memorial service for the victims is held in the central village, said officials at Yeongdong County, where Nogeun-ri is located.

The excavation team is comprised of experts from Choongbuk University and family members of the victims, the officials said. The excavation will last about 40 days.

"One of the survivors told us that he and other survivors buried 40-50 bodies at a nearby hill 15 days after the massacre occurred," said Prof. Park Sun-joo of Choongbuk University, who is to head the excavation team.

The exhumed remains will be buried at the Nogunri Historical Park after DNA tests are conducted on them to determine the identity of the victims.



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