Six of 43 missing Mexican students were kept alive in a warehouse for days | Mexico

Six of the 43 Mexican students forcibly disappeared in 2014 were believed to have been kept alive in a warehouse for days and then handed over to the commander of the local military base who ordered their killings, the Mexican government official at the head of the Truth Commission.

Interior Undersecretary Alejandro Encinas made the revelation with little fanfare during a lengthy defense of the commission’s report, first released a week earlier. At this moment, despite declaring the disappearances a “state crime” and saying that the army watched this happen without intervening, Encinas made no mention of six students being handed over to Colonel José Rodríguez Pérez.

On Friday, Encinas pointed out that the authorities closely watched the students of the Radical Teachers College of Ayotzinapa from the time they left their campus until their abduction by local police in the town of Iguala that night. A soldier who infiltrated the school was among the abducted students, and Encinas claimed the military did not follow its own protocols in trying to rescue him.

“There is also information corroborated by 089 emergency phone calls where allegedly six of the 43 missing students were held for several days and alive in what they call the old warehouse and from there were handed over to the Colonel,” Encinas said. “Apparently the six students were alive until four days after the events and were killed and disappeared on the orders of the colonel, allegedly Colonel José Rodríguez Pérez.

The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations on Friday.

The truth commission report notes that the military recorded an anonymous emergency call on September 30, 2014, four days after the students were abducted. The caller said the students were being held in a large concrete warehouse in a location described as “Pueblo Viejo.” The caller proceeded to describe the location.

This entry was followed by several pages of redacted documents, but this section of the report ended with the following: “As can be seen, obvious collusion existed between agents of the Mexican state and the criminal group. Warriors United who tolerated, authorized and participated in events of violence and disappearances of students, as well as the government’s attempt to hide the truth about the events. »

Later, in a summary of how the commission’s report differed from the findings of the original investigation, mention is made of a colonel.

“On September 30, ‘the Colonel’ mentions that they will take care of cleaning everything up and that they have already taken care of the six students who remained alive,” the report said.

On September 26, 2014, the local police took the students off the buses they had requisitioned at Iguala. The motive remains unclear eight years later. Their bodies were never found, although burnt bone fragments were matched to three of the students.

The families of the missing students have for years been lobbying the government to investigate further into the military’s involvement.

Last week, federal agents arrested former Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, who oversaw the original investigation. On Wednesday, a judge ordered him to stand trial for enforced disappearance, torture and official misconduct. Prosecutors allege Murillo Karam created a false narrative about what happened to the students to quickly appear to solve the case.

Authorities also said last week that arrest warrants had been issued for 20 soldiers and army officers, five local officials, 33 local and 11 state police officers as well as 14 gang members. Neither the military nor prosecutors have specified how many of these suspects are currently in custody.

It was also not immediately clear if Rodríguez Pérez was among those wanted.

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