The former mayor of a Mexican city has been charged with the kidnapping of 43 students who are feared to have been killed, according to a top security official in the country.
Mexico has been gripped by outrage and violent protests following the disappearance of the students – all of whom were male – from Iguala in the south-west of the country in September.
Now court officials say the city’s former mayor, Joses Luis Abarca, has been charged over the disappearances. Authorities claim he and his wife masterminded the kidnappings.
The students were allegedly abducted by police working with a local drug gang in Iguala, which has been accused of violently murdering them and burying them in mass graves.
However, despite dozens of arrests and the discoveries of at least 38 bodies buried in the hills around the city, none have yet been identified as those of the students – who belonged to a leftist all-male college. Parents of the missing students have repeatedly claimed that federal forces must have been aware of the events in Iguala on the night their children disappeared, and some have alleged they were directly involved. Federal police and the Mexican army have denied any role in the disappearance.
Abarca was already facing charges of links to organised crime and kidnapping and murder charges related to separate cases.