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The Atlacatl Battalion, a former Salvadoran Army unit, was a rapid-response, counter-insurgency battalion created in 1980 at the U.S. Army's School of the Americas, then located in Panama. It was implicated in some of the most infamous incidents of the Salvadoran Civil War. It was named for Atlacatl, a legendary figure from Salvadoran history.
The Atlacatl Battalion's first trained Salvadoran soldiers arrived back in El Salvador in 1981. The Battalion was trained at Ft. Bragg, NC by US Special Forces and the 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry of the 82nd ABN. As a result of their U.S. training, the Battalion had a close relationship with U.S. military advisers and Special Forces operating in El Salvador during the civil war of the 1980s.
The Battalion was disbanded under the terms of the 1992 Salvadoran peace accords that ended the eleven-year conflict.
In the early 1990s, the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador investigated war crimes during the civil war. Their report concludes that the Battalion was responsible for the El Mozote massacre, the El Calabozo massacre, and the execution of six Jesuit priests (as well as their housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter). The Battalion was also implicated in the killing of "some 50 civilians on the banks of the Guaslinga river".
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