A mass grave near a southern city in Mexico has been found to contain 28 bodies, state officials said. The remains could be those of 17 students who clashed with the police last week and have since been missing.
State officials in Mexico confirmed the discovery of 28 bodies found in a clandestine grave in the outskirts of Iguala, a south Mexico city where police shot at student protestors a week ago.
Inaky Blanco, the chief prosecutor of Guerrero state said it would take at least 15 days to identify the bodies in the grave since some were badly burned. "A bed of branches and tree trunks was made on which the bodies of the victims were laid and a flammable substance was used," Blanco added. The mass grave was found on Saturday.
"As long as the identity of the cadavers has not been recognized, we will continue the search" for students, Blanco told reporters amid suspicion that the bodies could belong to students who have been missing since last week.
According to Blanco, one of the people detained in the case had admitted that 17 students were taken to the outskirts of Iguala and killed there. Iguala's public security director, Fransisco Salgado Valladares ordered gang members to go to the site of the students' buses, news agency AFP quoted Inaky Blanco as saying.
These gangsters, who were members of the Guerrero Unidos gang, are said to have grabbed 17 students and killed them atop a hill near Iguala.
Authorities have however emphasized that the statement had not been confirmed by the investigators.
Guerrero state officials are investigating Iguala police for misconduct following a series of violent incidents a week ago, when police officers shot at buses which had been allegedly hijacked by the students. A video also showed police taking away several student protestors, investigators reported.
The shootout left six people dead. Dozens were wounded and 43 are still reported missing. Guerrero state authorities have charged 29 people in the matter and detained 22 police officers in relation to the incident.
The case threatens to become one of the worst incidents of violence Mexico has witnessed lately. Gang wars in Mexico have intensified since 2006, killing 80,000 until now.
mg/mz (AFP, AP, Reuters)