Questions on massacre: Mexico Student Massacre
Published: September 8, 2015
Questions on massacre: Mexico Student Massacre, The Mexican government’s account of the massacre of 43 students last year does not add up, a team of international experts has said, citing flaws in the investigation. Mexico has said it will begin a new investigation.
The case of the missing 43 students caused an international outcry after they were abducted in the city of Iguala in southwest Mexico nearly a year ago, on September 26.
The government’s failure to capture the killers or even persuade the Mexican people that it had staged an earnest investigation has severely dented President Enrique Pena Nieto’s reputation, and Sunday’s report is certain to put more pressure on him.
Commissioned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the text calls into serious doubt the government’s central claim that the students were burned to ashes in the nearby town of Cocula.
“There is no evidence that supports the hypothesis, based on testimonies, that 43 bodies were cremated in the municipal dump of Cocula on September 27, 2014,” wrote the authors, who include respected investigators from Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and Spain. Their findings were based on independent expert analysis.
The government called off the search after the attorney general said the students were incinerated at this dump
So far, only one of the missing students has been identified from the charred remains found at the dump.
Pena Nieto’s government claimed the students were abducted by corrupt local police, working in cahoots with a local drug gang who purportedly confused the students with members of a rival gang.
Citing confessions of the alleged perpetrators, the government’s official report says the police then handed them over to members of the local cartel, known as Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors), who took them to the local dump and set them on fire.
Jose Torero, a Peruvian-born professor at the University of Queensland in Australia, wrote that such a blaze would have consumed nearby vegetation and trash, but only evidence of small fires were found.
It would have required 30 tons of wood, 13 tons of tires and 13 tons of diesel to cremate so many bodies, and the process would have taken 60 hours, Torero concluded.
“We’re convinced that the 43 students were not burned in the Cocula municipal dump,” said the report.
Mexico said on Sunday afternoon it would reinvestigate the massacre.
“We will request a new investigation led by a group of forensic investigators of the highest prestige,” Attorney General Arely Gomez told a news conference in Mexico City.
Protests have taken place around the country over the ‘Missing 43’
The IACHR report flags the fact that missing evidence includes a bus seen on security camera footage from the night of the attack. The students were in control of several buses that night, and local police were shown to have opened fire on them.
The authors suggested the missing bus may have been carrying a shipment of cash or drugs, citing the fact that prosecutors in Chicago found that the Guerreros Unidos group transports heroin from Iguala to the United States in secret bus compartments.
They say the issue should be investigated, and may be the motive for the attack.
The IACHR experts conducted dozens of interviews with detainees and witnesses, and examined the possible role of an army battalion located only a few blocks from where most of the students are believed to have been abducted.
The team was denied interviews, however, with 26 soldiers who had contact with the students that night.
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