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Part I
The Repression

Nunca Más (Never Again) - Report of Conadep  - 1984


Anonymous groups or gangs 
who forced their way into homes at night

The first-act in the drama of disappearance, which involved both the victims and their relatives, began with the sudden bursting into their homes of the group responsible for the abduction. From the thousands of testimonies in the Commission’s files, we have concluded that these operations, as part of the use of kidnapping as a form of detention, took place at night or in the early hours of the morning, and usually towards the end of the week, so that it would be some time before the relatives of the person abducted could take any action.

It was usually a group of five or six people who forced their way into homes. Sometimes several different groups were involved, and in some special cases up to fifty People took part. The members of the gang always had with them a weaponry that was totally disproportionate to the supposed threat posed by the victims. The gang would threaten them, their families and their neighbours with both revolvers and heavier weapons. Often prior to the gang’s arrival the electricity supply to the area where the raid was being carried out was cut off.

The number of vehicles involved varied. In some cases, several private cars were used, (usually without license plates); in others, when members of the regular armed forces were involved, sometimes in uniform, trucks or vans which could be identified as belonging to one or other of the forces were brought in. Occasionally, helicopters circled over the neighbourhood where the victims lived.

This intimidation and terror was employed not merely to forestall any possibility of response by the victims. It was also aimed at achieving a similar effect on all those living nearby. Traffic was frequently brought to a halt. loudhailers, searchlights, bombs and grenades used in an excessive show of force.

In file No. 3860, Alberto Santiago Burnichon’s disappearance is described by his wife as follows:

At 12.30 a.m. on 24 March 1976, our house in Villa Rivera Indarte in Córdoba province was broken into by men in uniform carrying rifles. They identified themselves as belonging to the Army, and were accompanied by a number of youths in casual dress. They trained their guns on us while they stole books, objets d’art, bottles of wine, etc., which the uniformed men carried outside. They did not talk to each other, but communicated by snapping their fingers. The looting of our house lasted for over two hours; before the raid there had been a blackout in all the neighbouring streets. My husband, a trade union official, my son, David, and myself were abducted. I was freed the next day. My son was freed some time later, after being held in the La Ribera camp. Our house was completely destroyed. My husband’s body was found with seven bullet wounds in the throat.

Lucio Ramon Perez, of Temperley in, Buenos Aires province (file No. 1919) , describes his brother’s abduction in the following way:

My brother was kidnapped on 9 November 1976. He was asleep with his wife and five-year-old son when they were wakened at about 2 a.m. by a loud explosion. My brother got out of bed, opened the front door, and saw four people jumping over the fence.

They were in civilian clothes; one of them had a moustache and a jersey wrapped round his head like a turban; they all carried rifles, Three of them burst into the flat and ordered my sister-in-law and the boy not to look. The neighbours say that two of them dragged out my brother and forced him into a Ford Falcon. That’s the last we heard of him. They also say there were several cars and a truck on the scene, and there were a lot of men with rifles behind the trees. The traffic had been halted, and a helicopter was circling over the house,

These gangs did not bother to conceal their faces when carrying out the abductions. In the capital and the other large urban centres, their anonymity was guaranteed by the number of inhabitants. In the provinces, where they might have been identified, some attempt was made at disguise. They often used balaclavas, hoods, wigs, false moustaches, glasses, and so on. The only region in which this was not always the case was Tucumán province, where the repressive forces acted with even greater impunity, and the inhabitants were even more defenceless.

Maria Angelica Batallan, from Tucumán province (file No. 5794) speaks of her son Juan de Dios Gómez’s abduction:

At 6 p.m. on 10 August 1976, a group of soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Flores went in a truck to the Santa Lucía sugar mill and arrested my son, who was working in the store there. They brought him to our home, where they threatened me and his father. They searched everywhere, then left with my son. We never heard anything more of him.


Moment of Abductionn


Night 62,0%
Day 38,0%



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