Latin America & Caribbean

New graves found in Mexico in hunt for missing students

Members of the community police of Guerrero are seen on guard outside the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training College on 15 October, 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Vigilante groups have been joining in the search for the students in Guerrero state

People searching for 43 missing Mexican students say they have found new burial pits.

The 43 have been missing since they clashed with police almost three weeks ago in the town of Iguala.

Vigilantes who joined the search said they had found six new burial pits, at least two of which contained what they believe are human remains.

The search had been stepped up after forensic tests showed bodies found on 4 October were not those of the students.

Gruesome find

The latest burial pits were found by members of a group of vigilantes who had travelled to Iguala to help with the search.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A student hangs up a poster reading "They took them alive, we want them back alive"

They said they had found six pits, two of which looked freshly dug but had not been used yet.

They searched three of the remaining four and said they found what looked like human remains, clothes and hair in two of them.

If confirmed, this would bring the total number of mass graves found around Iguala since the students' disappearance to 19.

'No match'

So far, forensic experts have only concluded tests on 28 bodies found on 4 October

They could not be matched with the DNA provided by the relatives of the students, raising questions as to who was in the mass grave.

It is also not clear how long ago the grave may have been dug and by whom.

About 50 people have been arrested in connection with the students' disappearance, with the vast majority being local police officers.

The officers are believed to have been working for a drugs gang, known as the Guerreros Unidos.

The missing students all attended a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa.

The college has a history of left-wing activism but it is not clear whether the students were targeted for their political beliefs.

They disappeared after clashes with the police on 26 September in which six people died. Eyewitnesses reported seeing them being bundled into police vans.

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