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News > Latin America

Mexico Ayotzinapa Case: Investigating Army 'Not The Objective'

  • A march marks four years since the disappearance of the 43 students, in Mexico City, September 26, 2018.

    A march marks four years since the disappearance of the 43 students, in Mexico City, September 26, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 September 2018

Despite demands by relatives of the missing 43, the future head of the investigation insists the army won't be a target.

Despite promising relatives of Mexico's 43 missing Ayotzinapa students to heed their demands, the  incoming government says it has no intention of investigating the military's role in the mass disappearance.


Ayotzinapa Parents Condemn Exoneration of Eight Suspects

“Investigating the army is not the objective; don't force us to get into trouble with the army,” said Alejandro Encinas,  future deputy interior minister, about the Truth Commission being created.

Encinas was appointed by President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to supervise the investigation and will be deputy minister for human rights and population.

After a meeting between Lopez Obrador and relatives on the fourth anniversary of the disappearance, Encinas said: "Speaking about the armed forces in the abstract is different than speaking about members of the armed forces… we have to acknowledge that difference."

Encinas made his comments after it was pointed out that evidence suggests the 27th Infantry Battalion of Iguala was involved in the students' disappearance.

On September 26, 2014, 43 students from the Rural Teachers’ School Raul Isidro Burgos of Ayotzinapa went missing.

Security footage indicated they were kidnapped by police, and the official investigation by outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration concluded they were later handed to the Guerreros Unidos cartel, executed and their bodies incinerated at a local landfill.

Relatives have demanded the federal government let them enter the barracks, which is where they believe the students were taken after being kidnapped. In 2015, after multiple petitions were ignored, they forced entry but were escorted out before they found any evidence.


Ayotzinapa 43: Four Years After The Crime That Shocked Mexico

Among the few clues that have been recovered is a mobile phone belonging to Julio Cesar Mondragon Fontes, whose body was found a day after the attack. The student's face had been surgically removed.

The phone company revealed his line registered one call from the Center of Investigation and National Security (CISEN) and three from Military Camp 1A before it stopped working in April 2015.

Rafael Lopez Catarino, the father of one of the missing students, says a friend at the state prosecuting office helped him track the GPS of his son’s mobile and found it was used for the last time at Iguala's 27th Barracks. In addition, a colonel, a captain and 34 officers told prosecutors they witnessed the massacre but did not intervene.

Both the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) have suggested the Mexican government should include the army in the investigation.

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