In Mexico, Mayor Orders Attack on Students; 6 Dead, 43 Missing

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Mexico Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam has ordered the arrest of Jose Luis Abarca, the Mayor of Iguala and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda. The two fugitives have been missing since September 26th after ordering an attack on buses full of students.

More than 50 students from a left wing teaching school for the poor with radical roots went missing after Abaraca, using code name A-5, ordered police to stop and “Teach the students a lesson” and keep them from disrupting an event that his wife was holding to flaunt her accomplishments as head of a state social welfare agency, reports Cecilia Sanchez and Tracy Wilkinson from the LA Times.

The attack on the students resulted in six deaths including three college students and a 15-year old soccer player, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and wounded dozens more. Some students have reappeared but 43 students are still missing.

Ms. Pineda and her husband have been tied to a local drug gang who calls itself Guerreros Unidos. Sirdronio Casarrubias Salgado, the alleged leader of the gang has claimed that Ms. Pineda was the “main operator of criminal activities in Iguala”.

“Guerreros Unidos had weaved a network of complicity in several municipalities,” Murillo said in an appearance before reporters. Abarca paid out $148,000 to $221,000 “regularly,” much of it to buy off the police, he said.

Salgado was arrested that week in Acapulco. He has admitted the mayor bribed local police to let the gang do as they and members even infiltrated the police force. He went on to explain how the police handed over the students to the gang and told them they were members of a rival gang, reports BBC News.

The attorney general said that the mayor and his wife have bad blood with the students from past events. The students reportedly vandalized his office in protest of the death of a prominent political activist they believed Abarc was responsible for, reports Jose de Cordoba from the Wall Street Journal.

Nine mass graves have been found on the outskirts of Iguala holding a total of 30 bodies. Mexican forensic investigators have not been able to match any of the DNA from the bodies to the missing students. They are waiting for a second round of DNA tests.

So far, 52 police officers from Iguala and Cocula, municipal officials, and alleged drug traffickers have been detained in the investigation, Mr. Murillo Karam said.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Mexico City on Wednesday night, banging drums and demanding resignation of the mayor and even President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The families of the missing students want to know what is taking so long to find their children. They feel as is the government is not doing their job, reports Carries Kahn for NPR.

In Iguala, hooded protesters have become violent, smashing windows and burning several offices at City Hall.

Maria Fernanda Solis, an 18-year-old college student, said it’s just outrageous how much corruption, collusion and impunity there is in Mexico.

“The government and the traffickers are one and the same,” she said. “We have to stop it.”