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Falklands War: Experts bid to identify Argentine dead

Darwin cemetery Image copyright PA
Image caption Argentine war dead are buried in Darwin cemetery in East Falkland

Work will start later this month on identifying the bodies of unknown Argentine soldiers in the Falklands.

The International Committee of the Red Cross will take DNA samples from 123 graves in Darwin cemetery, which will be compared with those of relatives.

Currently, the graves - one of which contains multiple bodies - say only: "Argentine Soldier Known Only By God".

A total of 649 Argentines, and 255 British troops, died during the Falklands War in 1982.

The ICRC said it hoped to be able to give answers to most of the relatives of those killed in the conflict.

The committee has been interviewing Argentine families since 2012 and about 100 have agreed to have DNA testing.

Forensic scientists

Laurent Corbaz, head of the ICRC Humanitarian Project Plan, said: "I hope we will succeed in matching some of the graves.

"The plaque on the graves should not remain 'Argentine soldier known only by God'."

The UK and Argentina signed an agreement in December to try to identify the soldiers, and will share the cost of the project.

The team will consist of ICRC forensic scientists and two experts from each country.

Exhumation and bone sampling will begin on 19 June and is expect to continue until August.

The southern hemisphere winter was chosen to avoid interfering with tourism and sheep farming.

DNA comparisons and analysis will take pace at a lab in Cordoba in Argentina, and a final report should be released by the end of the year.

Retired British Army colonel Geoffrey Cardozo will be involved in part of the mission in order to explain how he organised the cemetery.

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