Iguala mass grave - A mass grave has been unearthed on the outskirts of the Mexican town of Iguala, Mexico, revealing "savagely slaughtered" victims burned in six, burned burial pits. Officials believe the Iguala mass grave could be linked to 43 students who went missing on Sept. 27.
The Iguala mass grave was found by security forces who were investigating the role of municipal police during recent clashes in the city, said Vidulfo Rosales, a lawyer for the families of the 43 missing students. The protests which turned violent reportedly involved teacher's rights.
The exact number of bodies from the pit is still undetermined and unidentified, Rosales told the Associated Press. However, according to the BBC, there were at least 15 bodies already retrieved from the Iguala mass grave.
While police worked on the identification of the remains, journalists and human rights groups held their distance.
"We have made visual contact, from afar so as not to interfere. We are cooperating with the work that is being done. The place is inaccessible. The road is two kilometres and the place is very difficult to reach," said Juan Lopez Villanueva of the National Commission on Human Rights.
Rosales said the DNA samples of the 37 missing students have been provided by their relatives over the past several days. The samples will be used to determine if the remains found from Iguala mass grave were of any of the students.
Governor Ángel Aguirre of Guerrero said on Saturday that the victims of the Iguala mass grave had been "savagely slaughtered".
Meanwhile, some of the relatives have also joined in the search of the missing students, knocking on doors, showing their photos.
According to the Associated Press in Iguala, Mexico, the students have been missing since last week, after the violence that also resulted in six shooting deaths.
On Sunday, a group of protesters blocked a main highway in the state capital of Chilpancingo demanding justice in the case.
"You took them alive, we want them returned alive," says a huge planner across the road linking Mexico City with Acapulco.
Street vendor Jesús López, is father to a 19-year-old son named Giovani, one of the missing students. López is preparing to participate in a protest in the Pacific coast resort on Sunday. He said he is still holding hope that the remains from the Iguala mass grave weren't of the missing students.
Other relatives "told us that [the remains] were burned, and that they couldn't be the kids," said López.
He added, "But we're really nervous."
On Saturday, anger over the discovery of the graves Iguala mass grave exploded as a group of youngsters from the school protested outside the governor's Chilpancingo residence.
They reportedly threw Molotov cocktails and overturned a car. The violence occurred after state authorities told the group they were not allowed to travel to the Iguala mass grave, even if to determine if the bodies are those of their missing classmates.
Iñaky Blanco, Guerrero state prosecutor, did not specify how many bodies were in the Iguala mass burial pits which were uncovered on a hillside on Iguala's outskirts. He also declined to identify whether the victims were of the missing students.
"It would be irresponsible" to jump to conclusions before tests to identify the bodies, said Blanco.
According to officials, the federal attorney general's Office and the National Human Rights Commission had already sent several experts in order to aid state authorities in identifying the remains from the Iguala mass grave.
Eight more people had reportedly been arrested in relation to a case last weekend. Several people died as student protests started violent incidents in the city where the students confronted police. 22 Iguala city police officers have been detained after the incident.
According to the prosecutor, state investigators had obtained videos showing how local police arrested an undetermined number of students after the chaos and took them away.
He added that some of the eight newly arrested people were part of an organised crime gang. Apparently, some of these newly arrested had been essential to finding clues leading to the discovery of the Iguala mass grave.
Blanco said arrest warrants have already been issued for the mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Albarca and his security chief, both of whom were now considered fugitives from justice. They are believed to be involved in the violence and officials across Mexico are on alert for their presence, reports the AP.
"The Mexican state cannot permit such an indignant incident to go unpunished," said Tomas Zeron, Mexico's Chief Prosecutor at a press conference.
Earlier in the week, the governor said organised crime had already infiltrated the city government.
The Aytozinapa Normal school, which had been attended by the missing students, is reportedly known for militant and radical protests, just like several other of Mexico's schools with "rural teachers college" system.
The first of the recent bloodshed happened on Sept. 26 when city police started shooting at buses hijacked by protesting students from a teachers college. Three youths died and 25 others were injured during the incident.
A few hours after the bus incident, masked gunmen shot at two taxis and a bus carrying a football team on the main highway. Two people died on the bus, while one person died in a taxi.
It may take a while for the identity of the victims from the Iguala mass grave to be revealed, but distraught relatives are holding rallies demanding information. Guerrero is a southern state where poverty results in social unrest drug gang clashes, making violence a frequent sight.
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