According to EFE, relatives of the 43 trainee teachers who went missing nearly a month ago in the southern Mexican city of Iguala after being attacked by municipal police warned the federal government not to try to lower social tensions by leveling false accusations against the students.
“The federal government should know that we’re not at peace, much less so now that they’re trying to distract attention from this (crime),” Felipé de Jesús, a relative of one of the missing youths, told EFE Friday (October 24), insisting that the families will not rest until they are found.
Relatives and classmates of the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, a nearby teacher-training facility in Guerrero state, said their attorneys have learned that the federal Attorney General’s Office is pursuing a line of investigation that seeks to link the missing youths to the Los Rojos cartel.
That gang is a rival of the Guerreros Unidos drug mob, which allegedly infiltrated the Iguala police force and local government.
The attorneys, who have access to the case files under an agreement with the Mexican government, say transcripts of statements by some of the 52 suspects in the case show that they told investigators the youths were using buses to transport members of Los Rojos and were attacked for that reason.
Most of the detained suspects are Iguala police officers with suspected links to Guerreros Unidos.
COMMENT: It is unforgivable that the federal government is now attempting to disparage the reputations of the 43 missing students when it in fact should have been privy to the fact that the students were rounded up by police in Guerrero at the instigation of the Iguala mayor.
If this national scandal continues to escalate potentially it could see the federal Attorney General in Mexico City stepping down, or greater impact, in order to restore faith in the government of President Peña Nieto.
“We want to refute the story the federal government is politically “manufacturing” to try to incriminate these kids,” De Jesús said, calling it a smear campaign aimed at “lowering the level of pressure” being exerted through mass marches in Guerrero and elsewhere in México.
Local police discharged firearms at the students on the night of September 26, at the request of then-Iguala Mayor José Luís Abarca, and his wife, María de los Angeles Pineda, now fugitives largely because of the failure of the federal government to comprehend what was transpiring in their own country.
Six people died that night, including three trainee teachers; 25 were wounded; and 43 others were detained by police and turned over to a Guerreros Unidos lieutenant identified as “Gil.”
The whereabouts of the youths remains unknown because the 52 suspects detained by authorities, including purported Guerreros Unidos leader Sidronio Casarrubias, do not include “Gil” or two other suspected members of the cartel who allegedly received the students from the hands of police.
The family members met this week with AG Murillo, according to De Jesús, who told EFE that the prosecutor expressed the government’s commitment to finding the youths, but at no time “told them that this situation was happening (the incriminating line of investigation)” and “at no time mentioned what the (detained suspects) were saying.”
A group of students at the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, for their part, gave a press conference in which they slammed federal investigators for attempting to criminalize their classmates.
“From one moment to the next, we went from being victims to suspects,” student spokesman Pedro David said, saying the suspicions that have been raised about the missing students are an “affront to the families, to their mothers, and indirectly are an affront to society.”
In a public appearance Friday, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto referred to the resignation of Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre the day before escalating protests over the missing students, saying the federal government will work with his successor to ensure law and order and spur development in that impoverished region of the country.
The Guerrero state legislature on Saturday (October 25) unanimously approved Aguirre’s resignation, which was one of the main demands of the families of the missing trainee teachers.