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Mexico sees military role in 2014 incident where 43 students went missing

Article Author:

The Associated Press

Associated Press

Maria Verza

FILE - A woman carries a banner that reads in Spanish "We are missing 43," referring to the 43 missing students from a rural teachers college during a march in Mexico City, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. The Truth Commission created to find out what happened to the missing students presented on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, a report that hints at the possible responsibility of the Mexican army in the disappearance.
File - Female November 2015 A banner reading "We are 43 missing" in Spanish, referring to the disappearance of 43 students from a local teacher's college during a march in Mexico City on Thursday. . Students released a report on Thursday, August 18, 2022, alluding to the possible responsibility of the Mexican military in the disappearance. Photo by Eduardo Verdugo /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MEXICO CITY (AP) — TO REVEAL THE TRUTH A committee set up in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in southern Mexico said the U.S. military was at least responsible for failing to prevent the abductions. A soldier invaded a student group and the military knew what was going on.

On September 26, 2014, local police, members of organized crime and authorities in the town of Iguala kidnapped 43 of her students from a bus. The students, from a rural teacher training college called Ayotzinapa in another part of Guerrero State, regularly recruited buses for transportation.

The government of President Enrique Peña Nieto at the time handed over the students to drug gangs, murdered them, and incinerated the bodies in the nearby Cocula dump, dumping the burnt remains. He presented the "historical truth" that to the river.

Investigation by independent experts and the Attorney General's Office, and corroboration by the Truth Commission, incineration in the Cocula dump was denied, but recovered charred bone fragments are missing. was used to identify three students of

Undersecretary of the Interior Alejandro Encinas, who heads the commission, said Thursday it was a "state crime" involving officials at all levels of government.

He said the military was responsible for "acts, omissions and negligence".

One of his kidnapped students was a soldier who broke into the school, and despite having real-time information about what was going on, the military searched for him. He said he didn't. Encinas said the inaction violated military protocol on missing soldier cases.

The Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Encinas also said that the top official involved in the case, Thomas Zellon, was offered a deal in exchange for his cooperation.

Zeron is accused of torture and enforced disappearance and is considered a fugitive while in Israel. Zeron, who oversaw the Criminal Investigative Service of the Attorney General's Office and the forensic work on the case, is considered the author of the events of the Pena Nieto administration.

Eight years later, there is still no evidence that the students are alive.

Encinas also revived the hypothesis that the origins of the abductions were tied to active drug trafficking in the region. He said the bus passed 16 federal checkpoints without being stopped that night, despite intercepted communications talking about the "goods" the bus was carrying. "And the goods are either drugs or money," he said.

His 2016 investigation by an independent expert found that federal police dropped students off a so-called "fifth bus" and escorted them from Iguala. Investigators suspected that the bus was part of a heroin-trafficking route from Guerrero's Mountains to Chicago, that a student had unknowingly hijacked it, and that the illegal cargo had sparked the episode.

Families of the missing have continued to pressure the government for years to keep the investigation open and include the military, which has large bases in Iguala but did not intervene.

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