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Buddhist ceremony honors dead in Khmer Rouge grave

More than 100 people have attended a Buddhist ceremony honoring the dead in a freshly uncovered Khmer Rouge mass grave in rural Cambodia.

Buddhist monks led prayers and people came with offerings of food and drinks Thursday, five days after about 20 skulls and bone fragments were unearthed at the site of a former Khmer Rouge prison.

Village chief Chheng Theng said the offerings were meant to give sustenance to the souls of the dead "because we know they died hungry."

An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died of torture, starvation, medical neglect, hard labor and execution during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule.

Historians and researchers say thousands of bodies could be buried at the site in northwestern Cambodia. It was one of nearly 200 Khmer Rouge prisons.