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Mexico: Prosecutor in missing students probe resigns

September 27, 2022

Families of Mexico's 43 missing students still hope to get justice eight years after they disappeared. However, they lost a key ally with Omar Gomez Trejo's resignation and are "extremely" concerned.

Relatives and classmates of the missing 43 Ayotzinapa college students hold posters with their pictures during a march in Mexico City,
Relatives and classmates march on the day of the eight anniversary of the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa college students Image: Marco Ugarte/AP Photo/picture alliance

Mexico's special prosecutor leading the Attorney General's Office's investigation into the abduction and disappearances of 43 students in 2014 has resigned, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday.

Omar Gomez Trejo's resignation came a day after the eighth anniversary of the crime in which students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College — known as a bulwark of radical protests and for defying drug cartel extortion  — went missing on September 26, 2014.

They were said to have been stopped by corrupt local police in the southwestern city of Iguala and handed over to a drug cartel. Officials say the students were then murdered, but very few of their remains have been conclusively identified.

A march in Mexico City on the eight anniversary of the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa college students
Relatives and classmates of the missing 43 Ayotzinapa want answers about what really happenedImage: Marco Ugarte/AP Photo/picture alliance

Students' families concerned over 'canceled arrest orders' 

On Monday, relatives of the students who disappeared marched to show their frustration about the progression of the case.

They called for the resignation of Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero.

However, they expressed confidence in Gomez and his team and on Tuesday said his resignation signaled unjustified interference by superiors in the Attorney General's Office.

"He's going to leave his post ... because he disagreed with the procedures that were followed," Obrador told a news conference following media reports about Gomez's departure

A government truth commission appointed by Obrador released a redacted report in August, which concluded the disappearance was a state-sponsored crime involving all levels of government and the military.

There have been important arrests, including the man who had been the army commander in the area when the abductions occurred and the then-Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam.

Mexican troops implicated in student deaths

But some charges against dozens of other suspects have been tossed out.

The families said the "rushed accusations and canceled arrest orders," contributed to Gomez's resignation.

They were also concerned that the leak of an unredacted version of the August report, naming officials allegedly involved, could taint evidence against the accused.

Obrador however vowed to persue justice.

"We're receiving a lot of pressure from many parties, but we have the firm will to do justice," he added, stressing that the attorney general would name a replacement for Gomez.

lo/wd (AP, dpa, Reuters)