Mexico City, Sep 15 (EFE).- The Mexican government announced Thursday the arrest of army Gen. Jose Rodriguez Perez in connection with the abduction and murder eight years ago of 43 students from Ayotzinapa teacher’s college in the southern state of Guerrero.
“There are three (military officers) detained, among them the commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion when the events occurred in Iguala in September 2014,” Security Undersecretary Ricardo Mejia told a press conference in Mexico City.
The arrests follow the Aug. 18 release of a report from a truth commission that deemed the mass abduction and murder a “state crime” involving local, state and federal officials.
Rodriguez Perez, according to the document, ordered the execution of six of the 43 students.
“Four arrest warrants have been issued for elements of the Mexican army,” Mejia said. “Three already arrested, there are four arrest warrants and we will continue providing information in this respect.”
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 after they had commandeered buses to travel to Mexico City for a protest.
Six people – including three students – were killed in the assault, 25 were injured and 43 students were abducted and presumably slain later.
The truth commission, appointed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, not only blamed public institutions for the crime, but also concluded “that federal and state authorities at the highest levels were careless and negligent” in the original investigation.
The administration of then-President Enrique Peña Nieto said in 2015 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.
Victims’ families were immediately skeptical of that account, as was the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, a team assembled by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights who concluded that the bodies could not have been disposed of in the way authorities claimed.
Lopez Obrador, who likewise rejected the account presented by his predecessor’s government, launched a new probe shortly after taking office in December 2018.
A protest Tuesday by parents of the Ayotzinapa victims and a student organization ended with acts of vandalism against the headquarters of the 35th Military Zone in Chilpancingo, Guerrero’s capital.
The Ayotzinapa parents and their supporters are planning to hold events every day over the next two weeks, culminating in a major mobilization on Sept. 27 in Iguala. EFE ppc/dr