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A Witness Places Mexican Federal Police at the Kidnapping of the 43 Missing Students

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A commission investigating the disappearance of 43 Mexican students says it has found a witness who puts two federal police officers, and officers from another city, at the scene of their mass kidnapping, which was already thought to have involved local police.

The students have not been seen since buses they had commandeered to travel to Mexico City from the southwestern city of Iguala were stopped by authorities in September 2014. Charred remains of one student have been found at a trash dump, and the rest of the young people may have met the same fate, as investigators believe they were handed over to local narco-gangsters with influence over law enforcement.

The national human rights commission’s new witness, who has not been named, was present when a bus carrying 15 to 20 of the youths was stopped by Iguala police on a federal highway, the Associated Press reports. After a standoff, police tossed tear gas into the bus and began handcuffing and loading the students into pickup trucks, at which point the federal officers and police from the nearby city of Huitzuco showed up and — according to evidence gathered by the commission — helped out.

“The facts released today could constitute clear evidence of the coopting of municipal institutions by criminal organizations in Iguala, Cocula and, now with the information being released, probably Huitzuco,” said commission member Jose Larrieta Carrasco, according to AP. “In the same way it could be an example of the alleged involvement of federal police officers.”


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Write to Simon Lewis at simon_daniel.lewis@timeasia.com