More mass graves unearthed in search for missing Mexican students

More mass graves unearthed in search for missing Mexican students
Civilian volunteers and NGOs have found at least four mass graves in a Mexico search operation for the remains of the 43 students who went missing after protests in September.

Information about the number of newly found mass graves varies, with Associated Press reporting 10 sites found on Sunday, in addition to at least 15 other mass graves discovered during the two-month operation.

Seven of the newly found graves contain human bones, while other sites consist of dirty clothing stained with blood.

The new graves were discovered at La Laguna, just west of Iguala, where police officers clashed with protesting students in September, shooting at several buses transporting protesters. The accident claimed the lives of three students and three civilians. The survivors were allegedly handed over to a local Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) gang by the local police and nobody has seen the students since.

People with missing relatives stand around mass graves discovered in October, in La Joya, on the outskirts of Iguala, Guerrero state, November 21, 2014 (Reuters / Jorge Dan Lopez)

Forensic investigation at the gravesites is expected to be conducted by local authorities.

The students from the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training College went missing in the town of Iguala, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, on September 26, following a protest to support the rights of rural teachers.

There are claims they were killed by members of the Guerreros Unidos gang, and their bodies were later incinerated to hinder any investigation. The mayor of Iguala has been named as the “possible mastermind” behind the abduction.

Allegedly, the mayor and his wife asked the gang for assistance because the protests interfered with their political campaign.

The fruitless search for the students finally sparked outrage across Mexico, unleashing a wave of anti-government protests across the country, including the capital, Mexico City. Many protesters blamed corruption within the Mexican state for the disappearance of the students, refusing to believe the gang murdered them.

The protesters said the abduction was a state crime and demanded Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s resignation.