IGUALA DE LA INDEPENDENCIA, Mexico (AFP) – Fourteen of 57 students who vanished after deadly shootings in southern Mexico have turned up alive but relatives feared for those still missing as authorities search for them.
A dozen troops manned a checkpoint Tuesday between Guerrero’s state capital, Chilpancingo, and the town of Iguala, stopping cars and checking IDs against a list of the missing students from a teacher training college.
The students disappeared following a bout of violence in Iguala late Friday and Saturday that left six people dead and 25 wounded in different parts of the municipality.
In one of the incidents, municipal police opened fire on three buses seized by the radical students, who are known to hijack buses and had taken them to go home after a fundraising drive in Iguala.
Three students were killed. A survivor told AFP on Tuesday that he saw officers take away 30 to 40 students in several police cruisers and they have yet to be found.
Prosecutors said they were able to connect 22 officers who were detained to the six killings after ballistics tests linked their weapons to the shootings.
The officers are being investigated over the disappearances, said state prosecutor Inaky Blanco. Authorities are investigating whether organised crime was involved.
Guerrero is one of Mexico’s poorest state, beset by violence by a slew of drug gangs and social unrest.
“Unfortunately most of Iguala’s municipal police officers have links with organised crime,” said Governor Angel Aguirre following reports that unidentified masked gunmen were involved in some of the shootings.