Mexico to pursue soldiers, federal police in abduction probe

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Normal college students join family members of 43 missing students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa in a march marking the sixth anniversary of the 43 students' enforced disappearance, in Mexico City, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

MEXICO CITY – Mexico has issued 25 arrest warrants for those who carried out and knew about the abduction of 43 students in southern Mexico in 2014, including for the first time members of the military and federal police, the Attorney General’s Office announced Saturday.

“Those responsible for the forced disappearance of the 43 students in the south of the country are fully identified” and will be prosecuted, unlike the manipulation and cover-up that happened under the previous administration, said Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero on the sixth anniversary of their disappearance.

Omar Gómez Trejo, the prosecutor leading the case of the students from the teachers’ college at Ayotzinapa in Guerrero state, said one federal police officer was already in custody.

Gómez said that among those being sought are “the intellectual and material authors of the disappearance, and these orders include police from various municipalities, federal police, members of the army,” as well as current and former officials from the federal prosecutor’s office and organized crime. He did not say if that included the office’s former chief, Jesús Murillo Karam, who Gertz Manero accused of “orchestrating a massive media trick.”

The students’ families have long demanded that soldiers be included in the investigation. Local police, other security forces and members of a drug gang abducted the students in Iguala, Guerrero on the night of Sept. 26.

It occurred near a large army base and independent investigations showed members of the military were aware of what was occurring. Pursuing soldiers is a significant move, especially considering President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s coziness with the armed forces.

“Arrest orders have been issued for soldiers that will be carried out,” López Obrador said. “He who has participated and is shown to have done so is going to be judged, that is an advance, there will be no cover-up.”

The motive for the students’ abduction remains a subject of debate.