Experts say Mexico military holding info on missing students

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A group of international experts investigating the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in southern Mexico said Friday that Mexico’s military has failed to hand over key information on the case.

The group was created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate the abduction and forced disappearance of students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in the state of Guerrero.

The panel presented a new report on the case Friday.

“There are black holes where the information disappears,” panel member Carlos Beristain said, adding that military personnel had given responses to investigators that appeared to have been “coached.”

He was referring to purported “secret operations” that Mexican marines carried out in Guerrero in the month after the students were abducted by police officers.

On Sept. 26, 2014, police in the city of Iguala took the students off buses they had commandeered. The motive for the police action remains unclear eight years later, but investigators believe drug trafficking was at least partially involved.

The students’ bodies have never been found, though fragments of burned bone have been matched to three of the students.

The experts group said previously that there is evidence a number of military personnel were following the events of that night closely yet did not intervene to save the students — or even a soldier had infiltrated the teachers’ college, which is noted for left-wing activism.

Phone intercepts that are part of a drug trafficking case in Chicago have also established close contact between members of the Mexican military and the AGuerrero Unidos gang, which allegedly was given the students after they were seized by police.

The experts said Friday that they have asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador again to instruct the military to share all of its related archives on the case, including phone intercepts that the experts say it has from the time of the abductions.

They also stressed the importance of maintaining the independence of the special prosecutor.

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