IGUALA DE LA INDEPENDENCIA, Mexico (AFP) – Mexican prosecutors on Monday were investigating whether local police officers were involved in the disappearance of 57 students who vanished after deadly incidents in the southern state of Guerrero.
Inaky Blanco Cabrera, the state’s chief prosecutor, said the military and state police have been searching for the students – on the ground and by helicopter – since the mass disappearance was reported on Sunday.
The students disappeared following a bout of violence in the town of Iguala late Friday and Saturday that left six people dead and 25 wounded in different parts of the municipality.
Fellow students from the rural teacher training school of Ayotzinapa broke windows and doors of the state legislature in Guerrero’s capital, Chilpancingo, in a protest Monday demanding justice for the dead and the whereabouts of those missing.
Four people died in attacks by groups of unidentified gunmen wearing masks who shot at cars and a bus carrying a third-division football team, killing two players.
Authorities say another two died after municipal police fired at buses that were seized by students protesting discriminatory hiring practices.
State authorities detained 22 municipal officers, including 16 who are believed to have fired their weapons. In all, investigators questioned 162 officers.
“It’s undeniable that excessive use of force took place,” Blanco Cabrera told reporters in Acapulco, adding that there was “no justification for the use of firearms.”
The officers denied attacking the students, while three said they fired in the air, he said.