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The special prosecutor investigating the 2014 kidnapping and disappearance of 43 students in southern Mexico resigned this week, a move that raised concerns among the students’ families about the lagging pace of the long-running probe, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Tuesday that prosecutor Omar Gómez Trejo had stepped down following disagreements with Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office about procedures determining who should be arrested.
Gómez Trejo had been the special prosecutor of the case since 2019.
His resignation comes as the Attorney General’s Office faces intense scrutiny over the handling of the case.
On Sept. 26, 2014, the students vanished after commandeering buses to go to a protest rally. They were last seen in the custody of local police. The case sparked outrage in Mexico and abroad amid signs that authorities and local-drug trafficking gangs were involved, the Washington Post noted.
In August, Mexico’s Truth Commission released a report accusing Mexican security forces – including army officials – of being involved in the students’ disappearances.
Although Mexican authorities have recently detained former Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam and a retired army general, the Attorney General’s Office has voided about 21 arrest orders for suspects – including 16 members of the military – without explanation.
Before Gómez Trejo’s resignation, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights complained that the special prosecutor lacked proper police assistance to collect evidence, formalize new charges and continue with court proceedings.
Human rights groups, meanwhile, warned that the special prosecutor’s departure signaled unjustified interference by superiors in the Attorney General’s Office, including “rushed accusations and canceled arrest orders.”
On Monday, families of the missing students held a rally on the eighth anniversary of their disappearance and called for the resignation of Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero.
Despite intense criticism, López Obrador voiced his support for Gertz Manero and said nothing would impede the investigation.