Will the case of the missing students in Mexico ever be solved? – Holy

IN On September 26, 2014, a group of 43 Mexican students disappeared in the state of Guerrero in southwestern Mexico. Their disappearance and subsequent botched investigation sparked protests and outrage in Mexico and abroad. Eight years later, the commission set up to investigate the case described it as a “state crime” – but who was behind the kidnapping and what the motive was remains unclear to this day, the BBC points out.

The forty-three studied at a teacher training college in the city of Ayotsinappa. The college has a history of left-wing activism and students have regularly participated in protests.

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The missing were part of a larger group of students who traveled to the nearby city of Iguala to protest what they say are discriminatory teacher hiring practices. They also wanted to raise funds for a planned trip to the capital of Mexico on the anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968, when a large number of students were killed by security forces in the capital.

On their way back from Iguala to Ayotcinapa, they encountered the municipal police, who opened fire on the buses they were traveling on. Police said they did so because the buses had been hijacked, while surviving students claimed the drivers had agreed to take them. Police also mistakenly shot at a bus carrying a local football team, killing the driver and one of the players. A woman traveling in a taxi nearby was also killed in the shooting.

Three students were killed on the spot, two of whom were shot, and the disfigured body of the third was found the next morning near the scene of the shooting. Forty-three students have been reported missing since the clash with the police.

The military’s role in the students’ disappearance has long been a source of tension between the families and the government, the Associated Press reported. From the beginning, there were questions about what the army knew about what happened and whether it was possibly involved in it. The parents of the students have demanded for years that they be allowed to search the military base in Iguala. It was only in 2019 that they were given access together with the state-established truth-finding commission.

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The commission’s report said the army had registered an anonymous call on September 30, 2014, four days after the students were abducted.

The caller said the students were being held in a large concrete warehouse. He described the place in detail. The call recording is followed by several pages of redacted material, but that portion of the report ends with the following conclusion: “As can be seen, there is apparent collusion between agents of the Mexican state with the Guerreros Unidos criminal group, and they have tolerated, allowed and participated in the events related to the violence against and disappearance of the students, as well as in the government’s attempt to hide the truth about these events”.

Six of the 43 students who disappeared in 2014 were believed to have been kept alive in a warehouse for days before being handed over to a local army commander who ordered them killed, the Mexican government said last Friday. official leading the Truth Commission, Al Jazeera said.

Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas made the shocking revelation, which directly linked the military to one of Mexico’s worst scandals, while defending the revelations made in the commission’s report published a week earlier. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador created the Truth Commission after he was elected in 2018.

Last week, federal agents arrested former Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, who led the original investigation. A judge ordered that he stand trial on charges of kidnapping, cover-up of torture and official misconduct. Prosecutors say Murillo Karam created a false account of what happened to the students to make it appear that he quickly cracked the case.

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Authorities also said last week that arrest warrants had been issued for 20 soldiers and officers, five local officials, 33 local police officers and 11 state police officers, as well as 14 gang members. Neither the army nor the prosecutor’s office specified how many of those suspects were detained.

In a joint statement, the families of the missing students said the Truth Commission’s confirmation that it was a “state crime” was significant after evidence had emerged over the years to suggest it was. However, they added that the report still does not provide a satisfactory answer to their most important question. “Mothers and fathers need irrefutable scientific evidence about the fate of our children,” the statement said. “We can’t go home with preliminary clues that don’t fully clarify where they are and what happened to them.”

Some observers, however, see the commission’s report as an admission that the case may never be solved. They believe that the systematic tampering of evidence and obstruction of justice from the very beginning of the investigation into the case make uncovering the whole truth unlikely.

Source: BTA


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