In Mexico, the army implicated in the case of the 43 missing from Ayotzinapa

Relatives of missing students hold posters with their images as they take part in a march to mark the sixth anniversary of the disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training College in Iguala, Mexico on September 27 2020.

“I apologize on behalf of the Mexican state “, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (“AMLO”) said on Saturday (September 26th) on the sixth anniversary of the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students in southwestern Mexico. The fate of these student teachers, kidnapped by police officers, remains a mystery. The investigation is now focused on the role of the military in what remains the most resounding scandal in the country’s recent history.

The parents of the disappeared demonstrated on Saturday in Mexico City to express their dashed hopes and demand justice alongside thousands of Mexicans. “Six years later, we still don’t know where our children are”, a few hours earlier deplored Maria Martinez, mother of one of the missing, during the presentation of the progress of the investigation in the presence of “AMLO”. His son, who was studying at the Ayotzinapa Normal School in the state of Guerrero, was attacked with his comrades on the night of September 26-27, 2014 in the town of Iguala, by municipal police officers linked to organized crime , leaving six dead and forty-three missing. The case had exposed the extent of drug cartel infiltration into the security forces.

Read also In Mexico, the judicial fiasco of the case of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa

Saturday, Mme Martinez nevertheless congratulated “AMLO” on the arrest warrants issued against soldiers of the 27e infantry battalion, located in Iguala. This claim by the parents of the missing had so far not been successful. “Zero impunity! “, then hammered “AMLO”, ensuring that “The soldiers involved will be judged”, without however specifying the number and names of the soldiers wanted by the courts.

Do not “disappoint”

Two years earlier, the Mexican Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) had identified 24 soldiers who had followed without intervening the various attacks carried out by “rogue” police officers against student buses. Survivors also revealed that soldiers prevented them from accessing a hospital to treat an injured comrade. Worse, other unofficial versions claim that soldiers participated in the kidnapping of the students. According to a source familiar with the matter, at least three soldiers would be targeted by justice, including the captain in charge of the Iguala barracks that evening.

“The historical truth has collapsed”, Alejandro Encinas, Secretary of State for Human Rights, hammered on Saturday, referring to the expression used by the previous government to define its official version which ensured that only “rascal” municipal police officers were involved. According to this version, the 43 missing had been handed over by their attackers to local cartel killers, Guerreros Unidos, who would have killed them and then all cremated at a stake in the landfill in the nearby town of Cocula. The remains of two students, discovered in garbage bags found in the San Juan River, near the Cocula waste reception center, had been authenticated.

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