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mexico missing students
Austrian forensic scientists have failed to match charred human remains with DNA samples in a Mexican inquiry into missing students, officials say.
Mexican prosecutors said scientists at Innsbruck University were unable to find sufficient DNA in the remains believed to belong to the 43 students.
The laboratory is now offering to carry out a more advanced test on samples not rendered unusable by excessive heat.
The Mexican students disappeared in the south-western city of Iguala on September 26.
The new test would take about three months and it is uncertain whether the examination of the last remaining samples will offer any clues.
It is alleged that the group of trainee teachers was seized by local police before being handed to a drug gang.
Prosecutors say the gang killed them, dumped and incinerated their bodies at a waste site, and scattered the ashes in a local river.
Only one student has been identified from the charred remains.
The forensic scientists at Innsbruck are considered leading experts in identifying damaged remains through DNA testing.
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Further ten municipal police officers have been arrested by Mexican authorities investigating the disappearance of 43 student teachers in Guerrero state.
Around 90 people in total, including 58 police officer, have been detained so far.
The students disappeared in September 2014 after clashes with police in the city of Iguala.
National prosecutors say police handed them to criminal gangs who murdered them and burnt their bodies.
Parents of the students dispute this, arguing the authorities are hiding what happened to them.
The remains of only one student, Alexander Mora, have been identified so far.
They were found near a rubbish dump where criminal gang members say the students were taken to be shot and their bodies burnt.
Members of the gang said they killed the 43 and burned their bodies after they were told the students belonged to a rival gang.
The relatives of the other 42 missing students say they will not give up hope of finding them alive until forensic evidence proves they are dead.
The slow pace of the initial investigation into their disappearance and the collusion it has highlighted between local authorities and drug gangs has led to mass protests across Mexico.
Mexican forensic experts have identified from charred remains at least one of 43 students who went missing in Guerrero state.
A family member of one of the students, Alexander Mora, confirmed that the remains identified were his.
The students were allegedly seized by local police in the town of Iguala in September and given to a criminal gang.
Prosecutors say the gang killed them and burned their bodies at a rubbish dump near the town of Cocula before scattered their ashes in a river.
The students’ disappearance has triggered widespread protests across Mexico against corruption and violence.
Another demonstration was held on December 6 in Mexico City at which parents of students spoke about the identification.
“If [the government] thinks that, because one of our boys’ DNA was identified, we will sit and cry, we want to tell them that they’re wrong,” Felipe de la Cruz, father of a missing student, told the crowd.
“We will keep fighting until we find the other 42.”
The unrest has seen President Enrique Pena Nieto’s popularity rating drop to its lowest point since he took office two years ago.
In response, Enrique Pena Nieto has submitted a package of reforms to Congress that include replacing all 1,800 municipal police forces with state-level units.
The students had travelled from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa to Iguala to protest against what they said were discriminatory employment practices for teachers which favor urban students over rural ones.
Police opened fire on the students, who were in buses travelling back from Iguala to their college. Three of them were killed and three more people in nearby vehicles also died.
A busload of the students tried to flee but was chased by municipal officers who then took them to the local police station.
Some of the officers, who have since been arrested, told investigators they then handed the students over to a drug gang called Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors).
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda were arrested in the beginning of November in Mexico City.
Mexican officials accused Jose Luis Abarca of ordering police to confront the students to prevent them from disrupting a public speech given by his wife.
More than 70 other people have been arrested in connection with the disappearances.
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Families of 43 missing Mexican students have led mass protests in Mexico City demanding action from the government to find them.
The families from Guerrero State arrived in Mexico City after touring the country.
The students, all trainee teachers, went missing after attending a protest in Iguala, Guerrero State.
Many remain unconvinced by the official explanation that the students were murdered by a drugs gang.
Forensic tests are being carried out on bodies found in mass graves in the state.
The mayor of Iguala Jose Luis Abarca has been arrested facing accusations that he ordered police to confront the students on the day of their disappearance on September 26.
In the past decade, more than 100,000 people have been killed and 27,000 have disappeared in Mexico in the last decade.
Thousands of people took part in three protest marches in the capital, which started at 17:00 local time.
Many thousands converged on Mexico City’s main square, or Zocalo.
Several hundred protesters gathered near the presidential palace, where police tried to push them back using water cannon.
The protest itself was peaceful with only small groups of protesters throwing bottles and fireworks at the presidential palace.
In violence near Mexico City’s international airport before the marches began, some 200 hooded protesters threw rocks and petrol bombs at police officers who had been trying to disperse them.
Demonstrators have also called for a nationwide strike. Protests also took place in other parts of Mexico and abroad.
The abduction has galvanized opposition to rampant political corruption and violence.
President Enrique Pena Nieto has accused some of the protesters of trying to “destabilize” the state.
Analysts say the issue is the biggest challenge Enrique Pena Nieto has faced in his two years of office.
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Mexico’s governing PRI party’s offices in south-western Guerrero state have been set on fire by protesters to vent their anger at the official handling of the case of 43 missing students.
Their disappearance more than six weeks ago from the town of Iguala has sparked a series of sometimes violent protests.
Officials say local gang members have confessed to killing the students and burning their bodies.
However, remains found nearby have not yet been matched to the missing.
About 1,000 people marched in the Guerrero state capital, Chilpancingo, before unrest broke out.
A group of protesters fought running battles with police, throwing stones and petrol bombs.
The disappearance of 43 students six weeks ago from the town of Iguala has sparked a series of violent protests
Officials said three police officers and two journalists were injured in the clashes.
The disappearance of the 43 trainee teachers and the links it has revealed between the local authorities and a gang calling itself Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) have triggered mass protests.
Investigators said that municipal police officers confessed to seizing the students, who had been protesting in Iguala on September 26, and later handing them over to the gang.
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca is under arrest on suspicion of ordering police to intercept the students. Iguala’s police chief is still on the run.
Residents say they suspect links between the gang and officials reach higher levels than that of the local town council.
Relatives of the missing are also angry about the way the search for the students has been conducted.
The search uncovered a series of mass graves in the hills surrounding Iguala.
Tests carried out by the Guerrero state authorities suggested the bodies they contained were not those of the students.
Mexico’s Attorney-General Jesus Murillo Karam later said the initial tests may have been flawed.
A group of international forensic scientists acting for the families has also been examining the remains. On November 11 they released their first statement.
They said that they had so far been able to determine that 24 of the 30 bodies found in the six mass graves in Pueblo Viejo near Iguala were not those of the students.
It is not clear who they may belong to or how long ago they may have been buried there.
Test on the remaining six bodies found in Pueblo Viejo continue and results on those are expected soon, they said.
The team, made up of scientists from Argentina, Colombia, France, Mexico, Uruguay and the US, said it was also testing nine bodies found in burial pits in La Parota, also near Iguala.
Furthermore, charred remains found at a landfill site near the town of Cocula will be sent to a specialized laboratory in Austria for testing.
The landfill site is where, according to testimony by gang members given to prosecutors, the Guerreros Unidos killed and burned the students.
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Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo has said that suspected gang members have confessed to killing 43 students missing for six weeks.
Jesus Murillo said three alleged gang members claimed the students were handed over to them by police.
They said some were already asphyxiated and they shot the others dead, before setting fire to all the bodies.
A total of 43 students went missing after clashing with police on September 26 in the town of Iguala.
The suspects from the Guerreros Unidos drug gang were recently arrested in connection with the disappearances.
Relatives of the missing said they had been told that six bags of unidentified human remains had been found along a river near where the students vanished.
Jesus Murillo warned that it would be difficult to identify the charred remains and that authorities would continue to consider the students as missing until DNA tests confirmed the identities.
Previous searches have uncovered mass graves in the area, but initial tests suggested they did not contain the remains of the students.
Jesus Murillo showed videotaped confessions by the suspects who said they had loaded the students into dumper trucks and taken them to a landfill site in Cocula, a city near Iguala.
About 15 of the students were already dead when they arrived and the rest were shot, according to the suspects.
Jesus Murillo said the bodies were then burned with petrol, tires, firewood and plastic in an inferno that lasted for 14 hours.
A total of 43 students went missing after clashing with police on September 26 in the town of Iguala
“The fire lasted from midnight to 2PM the next day. The criminals could not handle the bodies (for three hours) due to the heat,” he said.
He said that the suspects then crushed the remains, stuffed them into bags and tossed them in a river.
Jesus Murillo showed videos of investigators combing through small pieces of burned remains that were found in black plastic bags.
The suspects said they were not sure how many students they had taken but one said there were more than 40, Jesus Murillo added.
“The high level of degradation caused by the fire in the remains we found make it very difficult to extract the DNA that will allow an identification,” he added.
However, relatives of the missing remained skeptical. The families have been highly critical of the investigation into the students’ disappearance.
The case has shocked Mexico. Thousands have staged protests over what they say is collusion between officials and organized crime, along with government inaction.
President Enrique Pena Nieto has faced widespread criticism and on November 7 he vowed to hunt down all those responsible for the “horrible crime”.
The students from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, in Guerrero state, had travelled to nearby Iguala to protest against what they said were discriminatory hiring practices, and to collect funds for their college.
They went missing after clashes with the police.
Six people were also killed after police opened fire and witnesses described seeing the students being bundled into police cars.
More than 70 people have been arrested in connection with the disappearances, including the Mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, who were detained in Mexico City on November 4.
Mexican officials accused Jose Luis Abarca of ordering police to confront the students to prevent them from disrupting a public speech given by Maria de los Angeles Pineda.
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The fugitive mayor of the Mexican town of Iguala, where 43 students went missing in September, has been arrested, officials announce.
Jose Luis Abarca was detained by federal police officers in the capital, Mexico City, a police spokesman said.
Mexican officials have accused Jose Luis Abarca of ordering police to confront the students on the day of their disappearance on September 26.
Eyewitnesses described seeing them being bundled into police cars.
Federal police spokesman Jose Ramon Salinas confirmed the arrest of Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda on Twitter.
Mexican officials had issued an arrest warrant for Jose Luis Abarca and Maria de los Angeles Pineda after Iguala police officers said they had received an order from the mayor to intercept the students.
The officers said they had been told to stop the students from interrupting a speech given by Maria de los Angeles Pineda in Iguala on that day.
The students, from a nearby teacher training college, had travelled to Iguala to raise funds and protest.
They have not been seen since. A search has uncovered a series of mass graves in the area, but initial tests suggested they were not those of the students.
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda were detained by federal police officers in Mexico City
Since then, more bodies have been uncovered and officials have cast doubt on the accuracy of the initial tests.
More forensic tests are currently being carried out.
Jose Luis Abarca and Maria de los Angeles Pineda were arrested in a flat they had rented in Mexico City, media reports said.
They did not resist the arrest.
They have been taken for questioning. Officials hope they will be able to shed light on the whereabouts of the students.
The events of September 26 have shocked Mexicans and have led to mass protests demanding that the authorities do more to find the missing students.
The 43 were part of a larger group which had gone to Iguala to protest against what they said were discriminatory hiring practices.
The students all attended a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa with a history of left-wing activism, and their presence in Iguala raised alarm bells with the local authorities.
When the students boarded busses to return to their college, they were stopped by police – allegedly on the orders of Mayor Jose Luis Abarca.
The officers opened fire and killed three students and three people in nearby vehicles.
They stopped one busload of students trying to flee and took them to a local police station.
According to police officers detained as part of the investigation, they then handed the students over to a local drugs gang.
The gang’s leader, who has also been arrested, says he ordered the students be “made to disappear”, after having been told they belonged to a rival gang.
However, he did not specify further what happened to them.
The gang leader also accused Maria de los Angeles Pineda of being “the main operator of criminal activities in Iguala”.
The relatives of the missing students said on November 3 that “no progress” had been made in the search for the 43 and expressed their anger over the slow pace of the investigation.
The governor of the state of Guerrero, where Iguala is located, resigned last month over the disappearances.
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Mexican authorities say that some bodies found in shallow graves near the town of Iguala are not those of students missing after clashes with police.
The 43 students were last seen being pushed into police vans after a protest in Guerrero state on September 26.
“I can say that some of the bodies, according to the work of forensics experts, do not correspond to the youths,” said Governor Angel Aguirre.
Prosecutors believe police turned over the students to a drug gang.
The gang was linked to the family of Iguala’s Mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez.
He, his wife and his head of security went on leave after the clashes and have not reappeared.
A formal search has been launched for them.
The 43 students were last seen being pushed into police vans after a protest in Guerrero state on September 26
Angel Aguirre has promised new developments in the investigation over the next few days.
“I have big hopes of finding our young students alive. That is why we have now entered a new phase in the search for them,” he said.
The clandestine graves were located in the outskirts of Iguala following an anonymous tip off.
Twenty-eight burnt bodies were retrieved from the pits. Forensic experts are still working to identify all of them, said Angel Aguirre.
The students all attended a local teacher training college with a history of left-wing activism.
Six students were killed in two separate shooting incidents during the protests in Iguala, which lies some 120 miles south of the capital, Mexico City.
However, it is not clear whether they were targeted for their political beliefs.
Some think that they may have angered a local drug gang called Guerreros Unidos by refusing to pay extortion money.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets across Mexico to demand government action to locate the students.
President Enrique Pena Nieto went on national television to promise to identify and punish those responsible for the disappearance.
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