José Rodríguez Pérez, a former general of the Mexican army, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of involvement in the disappearance of 43 Mexican students in 2014. Last month, former Mexican attorney general Jesús Murillo was also arrested in connection with the same case.
News of the arrest was announced at a press conference by a Mexican deputy secretary who heads a truth commission on the case. The former general was not mentioned by name, but Rodríguez Pérez was “the colonel of the local army base” at the time of the disappearance, who was arrested according to the deputy minister.
The Mexican students, trainee teachers, disappeared from the city of Iguala in Guerrero state on September 26, 2014. They wanted to commemorate a student protest that had been crushed in Mexico City in 1968. Because they had no money for the trip, they hijacked two buses in the city of Iguala. They were believed to have been detained by corrupt cops who turned them over to a criminal organization and the military.
A truth commission last month came with damning conclusions about how the Mexican government dealt with the disappearance eight years ago. It would have been a “state crime”. What exactly happened to the students remains unclear to this day. The arrested former general is said to have had six of the students murdered at the time. Human remains of only three students were recovered.
In addition to the arrest of the former general and the former top man of the Public Prosecution Service, last month the Public Prosecution Service also issued arrest warrants against dozens of police officers, soldiers, officials and members of a drug cartel for their involvement.
The state of Guerrero is considered one of the most dangerous areas in the Central American country because of rival drug cartels, where tens of thousands of people are killed by violence every year. The investigation into the disappearance of the students has been criticized internationally for the many mistakes that were made and the lack of progress.
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