Skip to content

Mexican authorities excavate a landfill in search of missing students five years ago

September 28, 2019

TEPECOACUILCO, Sep 28 (Reuters / EP) –

Researchers in Mexico have tracked a landfill this Friday in search of some trace of one of the 43 teaching students who disappeared five years ago, on the occasion of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's promise to reveal what happened to the students.

The landfill is one of the last fronts in a search that has produced more questions than answers since the students disappeared on the night of September 26, 2014, unleashing international outrage.

The Government has not given details so far on what has been found in the place, although the Vice Minister of Interior of Mexico, Alejandro Encinas, has hinted that it would be significant. “Now we have realized that this is an important site, a very important site,” said Encinas.

The country's authorities announced last week that the investigation had been so plagued with errors that they had decided to start “practically from scratch.” Located in Tepecoacuilco, a few kilometers from the southwestern city of Iguala, where students were kidnapped, the dump is one of the places where authorities have searched in recent weeks, Encinas said Thursday, wearing a shirt stamped with the number “43” in memory of the students.

Authorities have found 184 bodies so far, Encinas said, but none of them belonged to the missing students. According to the Peña Nieto government, the local band of United Warrior drug traffickers confused the students with members of a rival group, killed them, incinerated their bodies in another nearby dump and threw their remains into a river.

Later, a group of independent experts detected several gaps in the official version of the events presented in 2015. In the nearby city of Huitzuco, Marco Moyo said he was encouraged to see the researchers taking further steps in the search. “It's interesting to see them looking at different places where they hadn't looked before,” said Moyo, a 30-year-old student. “They could probably find different clues.”

In this regard, he said he feels that the feeling of outrage around the disappearance of students is fading with each passing year. “There are too many (missing people),” Moyo said. “The authorities do not spend time investigating them, and there is no interest in investigating them either,” he concluded.

On September 26, 2014, a hundred students belonging to the Ayotzinapa rural teacher school arrived in Iguala, in the state of Guerrero, to seize buses they were going to use to attend a protest in the capital, when they were attacked shot by municipal police and hitmen.

Three died during the first hours of the attack, while the burned remains of another were later found and identified. The other 42 remain missing.

The relatives of the young people never gave credibility to the conclusions of the then prosecutor Jesús Murillo, who, according to lawyers familiar with the case, tried to close the case as soon as possible because it harmed the Government.

One of the fundamental aspects is to clarify what role the Federal Police and the Army played that night, who were aware of the students' movements, but did not intervene to prevent the attack against unarmed youth and in the heart of the city. Apparently a patrol of the Federal Police came to stop one of the buses in which the students were traveling.