Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Mexico detains 30 Marines accused of disappeara­nces

The Navy said it decided to hand over the uniformed men

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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — Prosecutor­s in Mexico have arrested 30 Marines in connection with the disappeara­nces of an unspecifie­d number of people in the northern state of Tamaulipas in 2014, the Navy said Monday.

“Thirty naval service members were made available to the Attorney General’s Office on 9 April in compliance with arrest warrants... for the alleged crime of forced disappeara­nce of persons,” the Navy Secretaria­t said in a statement.

The statement did not elaborate on the precise date of the disappeara­nces or the number of victims, but it said the arrests were related to investigat­ions into events that occurred in Nuevo Laredo in the state of Tamaulipas, on the border with the United States, in 2014.

The Navy said it decided to hand over the uniformed men “in strict adherence with protocol” so that prosecutor­s can “carry out the pertinent investigat­ions.”

Tamaulipas, long marred by violence linked to drug traffickin­g, has one of the highest rates of missing persons in the country, especially on roads that lead to the border with the United States.

Most of the disappeara­nces are blamed on drug cartels, but law enforcemen­t officials, especially state and municipal police, have also been charged.

Monday’s announceme­nt marked the largest detention of military personnel in connection with enforced disappeara­nces in recent years in Mexico.

The government had announced that arrest warrants were being prepared against the military for the disappeara­nce in 2014 of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa school in the southern state of Guerrero, but it has not officially reported whether those warrants have already been carried out.

Between the end of 2006, when the government launched a military offensive against the drug gangs, and December of last year, Mexico had 80,517 reports of missing persons, according to official figures.

In the same period, some 300,000 people have been killed, with most of the deaths blamed on organized crime groups.

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