Mexico: police kill Guerrero students, again

The Attorney General's Office of the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero announced on Sept. 28 that 22 agents from the Iguala de la Independencia municipal preventive police had been detained and removed to Acapulco in connection with a violent outbreak the night of Sept. 26-27 that left six dead and 17 injured. At least two of those killed were students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers' College, located in the town of Ayotzinapa, and as of Sept. 27 some 25 of the students were still missing. Two students from the same school were killed in an assault by state and federal police during a protest on Dec. 12, 2011; Guerrero governor Angel Aguirre Rivero eventually had to apologize publicly for the killings after the federal government's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) issued a recommendation for an apology and for compensation to the victims' families.

According to the authorities, the violence in Iguala began late on Sept. 26 when a group of students from the teachers' college commandeered three buses to take them back to Ayotzinapa, about 125 kilometers away, after a visit to the city. Police agents responded by shooting at the buses, killing two students. Later that night, unidentified gunmen attacked a bus on the federal Iguala-Chilpancingo highway as it was taking a Chilpancingo soccer team, the Avispones ("Hornets"), home after a match with an Iguala team. A teenage player, David Josué García Evangelista, was killed, along with a passenger, Blanca Montiel Sánchez; the bus driver was wounded and died afterwards from his injuries. The military also found a man's body at another location on the same highway; the victim still hadn't been identified as of Sept. 28. It wasn't clear whether he was a student, but the daily La Jornada suggested that the night's attacks were "against anyone who looked like a student."

As the violence was beginning on Sept. 27, Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez told a reporter that "apparently someone hired [the Ayotzinapa students] to come and make trouble." The mayor's wife, Municipal Family Development System president María de los Angeles Pineda Villa, was scheduled to deliver a report in a public plaza that night, although there was also a dance with a tropical music group, Luz Roja de San Marcos, at the plaza. Mayor Abarca Velázquez, a business owner and a member of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), is reportedly planning to have his wife replace him in city hall if he wins a seat in the federal Chamber of Deputies next year. The students said they simply came to Iguala to do fundraising in the streets, and they denied that they seized the buses by force. "There was some discussion with the bus drivers; they agreed to do us a favor," Pedro David García López, a representative of the Ayotzinapa Student Executive Committee, told reporters on Sept. 27. "There wasn't a kidnapping or a threat against a driver…. The buses had already let out their passengers."

On Sept. 27 the State Organizing Committee of Education Workers in Guerrero (CETEG), an organization of dissident local members of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE), condemned the police attack and announced that the group's campaign against the federal government's "education reform" program would now include a demand for punishment of the people responsible for the Iguala killings. (CNN México, Sept. 27, some from Notimex; La Jornada, Mexico, Sept. 28, Sept. 28; Informador, Mexico, Sept. 28)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, September 28.