Latin America & Caribbean

New evidence on Mexico disappeared students

Parents and relatives of 43 missing Mexican students of the Ayotzinapa College participate in a rally in Mexico City, Mexico, 01 December 2015. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Parents and relatives of the missing students have expressed anger

Independent investigators in Mexico say they have evidence that contradicts official versions of how 43 students disappeared last year in Guerrero state.

They said satellite pictures showed no signs of a fire at a rubbish dump where their bodies were allegedly incinerated by a drug gang.

The images also showed rain when there was said to have been a fire.

The disappearance of the students led to months of large protests.

The new satellite evidence was presented to the Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez.

At a news conference, an expert panel from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said new lines of investigation should be opened up in other areas to find the remains of the 43 students.

They also called for military officers at a battalion stationed in the town of Iguala, where the students were studying at the Ayotzinapa teacher training school, to be questioned.

This would form part of a further investigation into the role of the state and armed forces in the students' disappearance.

The expert panel has highlighted other doubts about the authorities' version of events.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The investigation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has highlighted numerous other doubts

In a 500-page report released in September, they said there were discrepancies in the authorities' version of events.

The government says gang leaders they had questioned had told them that five gang members built and maintained a pyre for up to 16 hours.

The commission cited an independent study which had calculated that 30,000 kg of wood or 13,330 kg of rubber tyres would have been needed to burn for 60 hours to dispose of the bodies.

It said feeding the pyre would have been impossible and a conflagration of that size would have left obvious evidence at the site itself.

The commission also said arrested gang members they had questioned had told them they had been tortured to extract confessions.

The official government version of the case is that police abducted the 43 students in Iguala in Guerrero on 26 September 2014.

They had gone there to gather for a commemoration in Mexico City.

The police then handed them over to the local gang, Guerreros Unidos, who killed them, burnt their bodies and tossed their remains into a local river.

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