CHILPANCINGO, Mexico – Authorities testing remains found in nine mass graves in southern Mexico have yet to find any of 43 teachers college students who disappeared after a confrontation with police, security officials said Tuesday.
None was among 28 bodies, some badly burned, that were unearthed a week after the Sept. 26 attack, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said.
Forensic investigators continued to test other remains and announced the discovery of a 10th mass grave Tuesday.
An additional 14 police officers have been arrested and confessed to participating in the disappearance, Murillo Karam said, bringing the total number of detainees to 50.
The 14 are from the police force of Cocula, a town neighboring Iguala, where the confrontation took place in the southern state of Guerrero. Both the mayor and police chief of Iguala are fugitives and accused of links to the local drug cartel, Guerrero Unidos, believed to have worked with police in disappearing the students.
The gang controls drug routes in Guerrero and Morelos states.
Murillo Karam said that officials had yet to identify the masterminds or a motive in the attack, but that the collusion might have gone beyond just one town.
“There’s a connection. We will determine if it was coordination or subordination, but it’s clear to me that they were working together,” he said of police and drug traffickers in the area.
Police opened fire on about 100 students who had hijacked buses to return to campus after arriving in Iguala to pass the hat for their school. Teachers college students are known throughout Mexico for using radical tactics to raise money and spread their leftist philosophy.
Six people were killed, 25 wounded and dozens of students rounded up by police. There has been no sign of the missing in nearly three weeks, leading investigators to comb the burial sites outside of Iguala, where drug cartels are believed to dump their enemies.
On Tuesday, Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre said many of the bodies at the first site appeared to have been buried for some time.
Also Tuesday, an alleged leader of the Guerreros Unidos killed himself during a confrontation with Mexican security forces Tuesday. Federal forces were carrying out an operation to capture Benjamin Mondragon, or “Benjamon,” when a gunbattle broke out, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said.
The official said it was unclear whether Mondragon was involved in the students’ disappearances.
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