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Parents of 43 Missing Students Outraged Over Armed Forces’ Obstructing Investigation

INTERNATIONAL: The parents of 43 Ayotzinapa students who disappeared in 2014 expressed frustration and outrage on Tuesday 29 March, following a report that revealed that Mexico's armed forces knew that the student teachers were being kidnapped by criminals, then hid evidence that could have helped locate them.

Evidence obtained by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), an independent panel tasked with investigating the notorious case, revealed on Monday 28 March, that Navy and Army officials kept secret that the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College were under real-time surveillance by the state leading up to and during their abduction.

The students were under surveillance because their college, which has strong ties to left-wing social movements in Mexico, was viewed as a potential hotbed of subversion, the GIEI said.

"How can we not be angry if, after three years, information is released that should have been released at the time? How can we not be mad if the investigation did not go forward for lack of information when we, the parents, asked for that information? How can we not be angry if we know nothing about our children?" said the father of missing student Cesar Gonzalez, Mario Gonzalez, during the news conference in Mexico City.

Student relatives also asked Mexico's government to investigate former President Enrique Pena Nieto's involvement in the case.

The kidnapping of the students on the night of Sept. 26, 2014, in the southwestern city of Iguala sparked national and international protests and remains one of the most infamous incidents in the history of Mexico's struggle with drug gangs.

The official documents reviewed by the GIEI included transcripts of conversations between soldiers and their superiors detailing the students' arrival in Iguala.

From Iguala, the students had planned to travel to Mexico City to attend a protest but were kidnapped by corrupt local police and handed over to a local gang.

The students were then massacred and their bodies incinerated, according to the previous government. The GIEI later picked holes in that version of events, and the current government ordered the case to be re-opened.

So far, the remains of only two of the missing students have been definitively identified. The report did not conclude what happened to the rest of the students.

Mexico's armed forces have long denied having information about the crime and the students' whereabouts.

Source: Reuters

PHOTO: NEWS CONFERENCE HELD BY FAMILIES OF 43 MISSING STUDENTS AYOTZINAPA/ SOUNDBITES FROM PARENTS OF MISSING STUDENTS/ SOUNDBITE FROM MEXICO'S PRESIDENT ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR DURING NEWS CONFERENCE/ PRESENTATION OF UNPUBLISHED VIDEO PRESENTED BY GROUP OF EXPERTS SHOWING PEOPLE IN THE COCULA DUMP/ FILE FOOTAGE OF AUTHORITIES IN THE COCULA DUMP


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