Time and again, the Mexican Government has failed to ensure proper security for its citizens. A state wrought with political unrest and economic instability; the officials and citizens are in a constant state of war. The tragic incident of the mass kidnapping of Ayotzinapa students in 2014 has shown the international community the bitter truth about the violence carried out by the Mexican state against its citizens. As per the reports, the Government and the state police have been allegedly involved in their unjust murder and disappearance with no conclusive investigations whatsoever.
The fateful day of September 26th, 2014, has become a part of Mexico’s tainted history. Over one hundred male students from the Teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa had gathered in the nearby town of Iguala, situated in the state of Guerrero. Originally belonging to humble backgrounds with ages just between 16 and 22, these young teacher trainees had planned to reach their destination by commandeering a total of five buses from Iguala. Their mission was to join a protest in Mexico City against the discriminatory hiring practices of teachers and take part in the march which was being held to commemorate the anniversary of the 1986 Tlatelolco Massacre.
The Mayor of Iguala at that time was Jose Luis Abarca. The day this protest by the students of Ayotzinapa was planned also happened to be the day when his wife, Maria de Los Angeles Pineda Villa, was supposed to give a political speech. Theories centered on this case suggest that when the Mayor got a whiff of the protest, he ordered the police and army personnel to stop the buses. Little did they know what kind of a nightmare was about to befall them.
The horrific attack took place in the evening around 6 pm when the police vehicles intercepted three of the five buses which were heading north. They indiscriminately opened fire on the buses carrying the defenseless students when they reached Iguala. The unarmed students tried to retaliate and defend themselves by throwing rocks at the gunmen. In the initial attack, one of the students was shot in the head and bled to his death on the spot. They demanded to know the reason behind this attack but the armed gunmen showed no mercy and kept firing. The operation went on for almost four hours with no intervention by outside forces. As many as twenty-six people were wounded on that ill-fated day and at least six people died on the spot including three bystanders who were present in the street at that hour. The next day, over 100 shell casings were found on the scene of the attack which belonged to high-powered assault rifles.
While this unjust operation was underway, the policemen forced around 46 students from the intercepted buses and took them away in their patrol cars without any explanation. Nobody knows where they were taken and why. It was as if they had vanished into thin air. On the other hand, the surviving students were hardly in a position to follow every detail of what happened when the abduction took place because they were hiding to protect themselves from the bullets.
This tragic incident created a lot of political and social unrest in Mexico and managed to attract international media. Many local and international investigators were involved in trying and shedding some light on the case. The public demanded to know the reason behind the attack and the disappearance of unarmed and innocent students. Mayor Jose Luis Abarca denied his involvement in the attack and abduction of the teacher trainees of Ayotzinapa. He was asked to resign from his post and later went into hiding due to the increasing political crisis. The President of Mexico at that time gave an official statement which implied that the students had meant to disrupt the political rally held by the Mayor’s wife. He also stated that the 46 students were murdered that night and burnt on a rubbish dump.
The president’s official statement did not offer any conclusive answers to the grieving parents and the public. Many investigations were held in the aftermath which proved that the students were not burned and were still missing. Some believe that the students were killed and buried in one of the mass grave found in the woods. Others link their disappearance to drug trafficking by one of the drug giants of the state of Guerrero. Various theories were coined but the students and their fate remain a mystery for the whole world. Even after five years, there is still no trace of the 46 students who disappeared on the fateful night of September 26th, 2014.