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Mexico: Police arrest 8 soldiers over student kidnappings

June 27, 2023

Almost a decade ago, 43 students went missing in southern Mexico while traveling by bus to the capital. The government alleges that a criminal gang killed them. So far, the remains of only three victims have been found.

Protesters walk with posters of the 43 students.
Exactly what happened to the missing students is still hotly debatedImage: El Universal/Zuma/picture-alliance

Mexican police have arrested a group of soldiers suspected of being involved in the suspected kidnapping of 43 students who went missing in the country's south in 2014.

Assistant Interior Secretary Alejandro Encinas tweeted on Monday that eight soldiers had been taken into custody.

Four other soldiers are already in pre-trial detention, including a commander who allegedly ordered the murder of six of the men.

What has happened in the case so far?

The eight soldiers were arrested last week after the Mexican attorney general's office reactivated 16 arrest warrants that were issued against members of the armyin September 2020 but later annulled.

The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), an independent commission investigating the 2014 disappearance, accused the Mexican armed forces of deliberately withholding information about the case.

In August 2022, a commission classified the incident as a state crime due to the alleged involvement of state authorities.

The commission's mandate expires on July 31.

Mexicans fight back

What happened in the kidnapping of the students?

The students from a rural teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, southern Mexico,  disappeared in September 2014 when they were traveling by bus to participate in a demonstration in the capital, Mexico City.

The soldiers are alleged to have cooperated with corrupt police in kidnapping the 43 students before handing them over to the crime syndicate Guerreros Unidos for reasons that are not yet known.

The government's official version of events states that the cartel members killed the students and incinerated their remains.

However, what exactly happened to them remains hotly debated. So far, bone fragments from only three victims have been found and identified.

ns/nm (dpa, AFP)