A woman mourns next to the coffin of a relative, murdered by the Maoist terrorist organisation Shining Path in the 80s, at the forensic office in the Andean village of Nahuinpuquio in 2014. Picture: Max Cabello

Lima - Peruvian authorities said on Wednesday that they had uncovered five graves in a remote highland region that likely hold the remains of about 60 people killed in 1985 during Peru's bloody battle against the Shining Path rebel group.

Witnesses said a special police force known as the Sinchis had killed the victims - women, children and the elderly - who had been sleeping in their homes, according to the office of the attorney general.

A forensic team would excavate the remains in Ayacucho, the poor Andean region in southern Peru that was the epicentre of the Shining Path's uprising against the state in the early 1980s.

Peru's truth commission estimated about 69 000 died or went missing in the ensuing two-decade conflict, one of Latin America's deadliest.

The commission blamed the Shining Path for most killings and state authorities for about a third.