CHILPANCINGO, Mexico (AFP) – The mystery over the fate of 43 Mexican students missing since an attack by gang-linked police deepened Tuesday after authorities said none was among 28 bodies found in a mass grave.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced the arrest of 14 other local police officers in the state of Guerrero accused of abducting the students and handing them over to a drug gang.
Murillo Karam cautioned that authorities were awaiting DNA results for an undisclosed number of corpses found in other graves outside the city of Iguala, 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Mexico City. A new mass grave was found on Tuesday.
But, he said, “we have some (DNA) results for the first pits and I can tell you that they do not match the DNA that relatives of these young men have given us.”
Two hitmen have told investigators that they killed 17 of the students, but authorities stress that none of the deaths will be confirmed until DNA results are finalised.
But law enforcement officials said 300 federal police were actively searching for the students and treating their disappearance as a kidnapping in a case that has sparked international outrage and violent protests in Guerrero.
Authorities say municipal police officers colluded with the Guerreros Unidos gang in a night of violence in Iguala on September 26 that left six people dead and the 43 aspiring teachers missing.