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Mexico widens scope of investigation into 43 missing students

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Mexico widens scope of investigation into 43 missing students

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Mexico’s special prosecutor in the suspected massacre of 43 students in 2014 is now to examine the role of federal and state police.

Originally the focus was on local police in Iguala and the nearby town of Cocula, who its said were in cahoots with a drug gang suspected of killing the students.

But now a further 100 statements have been gathered in a widening of the probe. Special prosecutor Alfredo Higuera said the new testimonies suggested a wider culpability.

“There have been no restrictions in questioning whoever we needed and among them have been members of the military, the federal police, state police, municipal police.”

Higuera took office a month after a group of international experts appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) cited deep flaws in the government’s investigation.

The government’s account stated that the 43 were abducted by corrupt local police and handed over to suspected members of the local drug cartel Guerreros Unidos, who then killed them, incinerated the bodies and threw their ashes into a river.

The remains of only one of the missing youths have been definitively identified so far.

The government said it believed the gang had targeted the students in the belief they were linked to a rival outfit.

Besides widening the scope of the investigation it is also now putting greater stress on determining whether the students could have been brought to a variety of places after they were abducted, rather than a single location.

At the time the disappearance of the 43 students sparked both a domestic and international outcry. It battered Mexico’s reputation, plunging President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration into crisis from which it is still reeling.

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