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Mexican authorities arrested the country’s former attorney general Friday over his alleged role in the mass kidnappings of 43 students in 2014, a major move by the government as it grapples to resolve one of the worst human rights scandals in recent decades, the Washington Post reported.

Officials detained Jesús Murillo Karam over the weekend, accusing him of torture and the forced disappearance of the students. Murillo Karam is the highest-ranking former official to be charged.

Hours after his detention, a Mexican court issued arrest warrants for more than 80 people allegedly involved in the 2014 disappearance, including military officials, police officers and judicial authorities, CNN noted.

The arrests follow eight years of slow-moving investigations and what investigators have described as a cover-up under the previous president, Enrique Pena Nieto.

The disappearances happened in September 2014 when the 43 students from the rural Ayotzinapa teachers’ college were traveling to the southern city of Iguala to go to a protest rally. Their buses were intercepted by police and federal military forces.

What transpired next is unknown because the majority of the missing students were never located. However, bullet-riddled buses with shattered glass and blood were later observed on the city’s streets.

Murillo Karam, who led the initial investigation, said in 2015 that the students were turned over to a criminal gang, who burnt their bodies at a dump in the adjacent city of Cocula.

But international investigators, forensic analysts, as well as a truth and justice commission established by the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, disputed the narrative.

Earlier in the week, Mexico’s Undersecretary for Human Rights, Population and Migration Alejandro Encinas described the disappearances as a “crime of state” that involved security forces, civilian officials and a drug-dealing gang based in the Guerrero state.

The Ayotzinapa case drew international outrage and sparked large protests in Mexico. It brought attention to the rising crisis of the disappeared, the number of whom has now surpassed 100,000.

So far, the remains of three students have been identified, while the rest are believed to be dead. López Obrador pledged to solve the case when took office, but there have been no convictions so far.

Some analysts also questioned whether Mexico’s anemic justice system could successfully win convictions in the complex crime following the former attorney general’s arrest.

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