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A multinational panel investigating the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from a teachers’ college in Mexico said that while it wasn’t able to determine the students’ fate, the investigation had gathered enough evidence to show that Mexican security forces at the local, state and federal levels “all collaborated to make them disappear,” NBC News reported.
The investigators with the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), a panel appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights nine years ago, unveiled their sixth and last report at a press conference this week, outlining their conclusions and also the obstacles they encountered as they attempted to investigate one of Mexico’s most notorious cases involving those who have been “disappeared.”
In Mexico, more than 100,000 people are officially recognized as “disappeared.”
In this case, the 43 missing students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College went missing after they were attacked in the city of Igualaon on Sept. 26, 2014. In the decade that followed, investigators have only formally identified the remains of three students.
The GIEI said that account is incorrect.
According to panel member Carlos Beristain, the GIEI’s findings said authorities at numerous levels knew about the abduction of the students and were complicit in their disappearances.
The GIEI also found that members of the navy and the army carried out secret, unreported joint operations and manipulated information relevant to the case: It accused authorities of the “obstruction of justice.”
“They’ve lied to us, they’ve responded with falsehoods … we can’t investigate like this,” Beristain said.
Mexico’s armed forces have long denied having information about the disappearances.
The GIEI’s investigation officially ends next week but Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government will continue investigating the case. To date, almost 130 people have been arrested in connection with the disappearances.