Authorities have now unearthed a total of 10 mass graves in Iguala, Mexico. Attorney General Inaky Blanco confirmed the charred remains of 28 people were discovered inside the graves. Authorities believe the bodies belong to college students who vanished late last month.
On September 26, students from the National Autonomous University were raising funds for a trip to Mexico City. During their trip, the students planned to participate in a political march.
As reported by Newsweek, the annual march commemorates those killed during the Tlatelolco massacre. On October 2, 1968, dozens of civilians and students were shot and killed by military and police officials. Ironically, the National Autonomous University students may have met a similar fate.
While out raising funds, the students were reportedly captured and detained by local authorities. The Guardian reports that the students were likely “turned over… to a local drug gang.” It is assumed that the students were killed, burned, and buried in mass graves.
DNA testing is currently being performed to confirm the identities of those buried in the Iguala Graves. However, authorities are fairly certain the bodies belong to the missing students.
Prosecutors said the killings were likely tied to Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca — who is rumored to be involved in organized crime. Amid the investigation, 34 people were arrested and questioned about the students’ disappearance. Twenty-six of those arrested were local law enforcement officers.
Although Mayor Abarca is afforded political immunity under federal law, the Guerrero state prosecutor has asked congress to waive immunity. Following the suspected massacre, Abarca and his family fled the region. His whereabouts remain unknown.
The missing students’ families have not given up hope. Unfortunately, the Iguala Graves may confirm their worst fears.
President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in 2012, has vowed to curb gang violence throughout the nation. As reported by SMH, the number of homicides has declined in the last two years. Unfortunately, cases involving extortion and kidnapping have continued to rise.
The Iguala graves underline the level of corruption and violence experienced in many small towns — where abuse of authority is far too common. In addition to reducing crime rates, President Nieto has vowed to identify and remove officials who have ties to organized crime and drug gangs.
The students’ disappearance and the Iguala graves have gained the attention of several international organizations, including the United States State Department and the Organization of American States. Together with local authorities, the organizations are working toward prosecuting those responsible for capturing and killing the students.
[Image via New York Times]