Berlin apologizes over German weapons use in case of missing Mexican students | News | DW | 26.02.2015
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Berlin apologizes over German weapons use in case of missing Mexican students

A German federal commissioner has apologized over the apparent use of German weapons in the case of 43 missing Mexican students, believed murdered. Christoph Strässer visited the students' college.

Germany's federal commissioner for human rights policy, Christoph Strässer, visited the southwestern Mexican town of Ayotzinapa on Thursday and met with the families of dozens of missing students, believed killed five months ago. It is alleged the 43 students were murdered in September by a police-backed militia in the city of Iguala, in Guerrero state.

Strässer told those gathered that it appeared German weapons may have been used in the crime, and offered the families an apology. It was not yet known if the weapons legally or illegally fell into the hands of the offenders, Strässer said.

The case has triggered outrage and widespread protests within Mexico. Only one victim has been identified from charred remains. A UN report earlier this month criticized what it called a failure to prevent and punish enforced disappearances in Mexico.

Authorities allege police handed over the group - who were trainee teachers - to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang who allegedly killed them, burned the bodies and threw the remains into a river.

More than 90 people have been arrested in connection with the student disappearances, most of them municipal police.

Strässer is scheduled to return to Germany later on Thursday, after six days in Latin America.

His visit followed clashes two days ago between Mexican police and teachers in the port city of Acapulco, which left one demonstrator, a 65-year-old man, dead.

Up to 5,000 protesters turned out to demand better pay and justice in the case of the missing students. They blocked Acapulco's airport for around six hours on Tuesday until riot police intervened.

jr/msh (AFP, dpa)