Conflicts & War

Kin of Ayotzinapa students vandalize Mexican military post

Mexico City, Jun 7 (EFE).- Parents of the 43 Ayotzinapa teacher’s college students abducted nearly eight years ago in the southern state of Guerrero vandalized a Mexican navy installation on Tuesday in a quest for information on the fate of their loved ones.

The families, joined by some 500 students from several of the state’s rural teacher’s colleges, marched from the Pacific coast resort city of Acapulco to the headquarters of the Eighth Naval Region, where they sought the handover of records they say could shed light on what happened to the students.

The attorney for the parents, Vidulfo Rosales, asked to speak to the commanding officer, but the request was refused.

Members of the group forced the gates of the installation and a squad of marines prepared to open fire to prevent the intruders from going any farther, but riot police intervened to pre-empt a confrontation.

Meanwhile, some of the students painted slogans on the walls of the post, such as “I prefer to die on my feet than to live a whole life on my knees,” and “Sept. 26 will never be forgotten.”

On the night of Sept. 26, 2014, students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School, an all-male college known for its leftist activism, were attacked in Iguala, Guerrero, after they had commandeered buses to travel to Mexico City for a protest.

Six people – including three students – were killed, 25 were injured and 43 students were abducted and are presumed dead.

In early 2015, then-President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration presented what it called “the historical truth” about those events.

The account was that the students were killed by a local drug gang after being abducted by municipal cops acting on the orders of Iguala’s corrupt mayor, and that their bodies were incinerated at a dump in the nearby town of Cocula.

From the start, the families were skeptical of that account, as were the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), a team assembled by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In its first report, issued in September 2015, the GIEI concluded that the bodies could not have been disposed of in the way authorities claimed.

And on March 29 of this year, the GIEI presented a drone video – not seen before publicly – that showed navy personnel at the Cocula dump on Oct. 26, 2014.

A group of 12 people can be seen walking around the area and shortly thereafter a fire is visible that lasts around 10 minutes.

GIEI investigators also found that the navy and the army concealed crucial information, such as the fact they knew that the students were under real-time surveillance. EFE ia/dr

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