Mexico students: Official story doubted

(L to R) Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (EAAF) members Mercedes Doretti and Miguel Nieva, mother of one of the missing students Hilda Legideno, the spokesperson for the people from Ayotzinapa Meliton Ortega and lawyer Vidulfo Rosales participate in a press conference in Mexico City on February 9, 2016Image copyright

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The team of scientists said there was no physical evidence the students had been at the rubbish dump

A second report into the disappearance of 43 students in the Mexican state of Guerrero says there is no evidence to support the official version of what happened to them.

Argentine forensic scientists said they found no DNA from the students at a rubbish dump outside the town of Cocula.

The government says the students were killed there.

It said their bodies were burnt, after police handed them over to a gang.

But after a year-long investigation the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team concluded there was no biological or physical evidence to show that the 43 students who disappeared in 2014 were burnt and killed at the rubbish dump.

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The team revealed their findings with the students’ relatives, who have spent months campaigning across Mexico and the world

The team said they had evidence that there had been a number of fires over the years at the rubbish dump in a canyon outside Cocula but none had been big enough to burn 43 bodies.

They said it had found bone fragments from 19 people but that none of them came from the students.

The government had said that the students were arrested on 26 September 2014 in the town of Iguala around 20 km (12 miles) away by municipal police.

The Prosecutor General at the time, Jesus Murillo Karam, said that his investigations had uncovered that the police had handed over the students to a drug trafficking gang who had killed them at the rubbish dump and then built a large funeral pyre with the bodies to burn them.

The gang allegedly collected up the ashes and remains after the fire in bags and threw them into a nearby stream.

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The images of the 43 students are well-known in Mexico

The government has said it has identified the remains of two of the students from the bags, Alexander Mora and Jhosivani Guerrero, although only the first could by fully identified through DNA sampling.

In the case of Mr Guerrero, the Argentine forensic team said the DNA had badly deteriorated and experimental techniques had to be used which the team considered unreliable.

In September, experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concluded the government’s original investigation had been deeply flawed.

The Mexican government responded by saying it would re-open an investigation.

The parents of the students have been campaigning to be given access to military barracks in the area which, they say, may contain clues about the whereabouts of their children.

The government has refused to let the soldiers there, who were in the area at the time of the disappearance, be questioned by anyone but government prosecutors.

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