The chief of the National Search Commission (CNB) has revealed that an additional 481 people have been reported missing since she took charge of the agency 100 days ago.
Karla Quintana Osuna said that 15 of those people were located alive and the bodies of four others were found in México state and Puebla.
Quintana said the “vast majority” of missing persons who were found alive in recent months are likely to have disappeared “voluntarily.”
She explained that “there are a lot of women and adolescents who leave home escaping from a situation of violence – in other words, they don’t want to be found by the people who are looking for them.”
The CNB chief acknowledged that 337 bodies have been discovered in 222 hidden graves at 81 locations since the new government took office in December.
“Mexico is a country of graves,” Quintana said. “We see it every day. There’s no day when we don’t get information about a new possible [clandestine] grave.”
The official took aim at the previous government’s management of the CNB, stating that there was only a “simulation” that it was operating effectively, and that the National Data Registry of Missing or Disappeared Persons (RNPED) was not updated in a timely manner.
There are more than 40,000 persons listed on the RNPED but humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International have said in the past that official statistics probably underestimate the real number.
Quintana said that in the three months since she assumed responsibility for the CNB, efforts have been made to make the data registry more robust so that it can be of greater assistance in the search for missing persons.
Beyond listing their names, more specific and detailed information is needed in order to establish better lines of inquiry, she said, adding that the registry is now updated on a daily basis.
Quintana said search efforts have been undertaken in the states of Colima, Guerrero, Nayarit, Sonora, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas.
“We’ve also begun [developing] regional search plans and we’re going to start . . . in the northeast, in the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Durango,” she said.
The commission was established by the previous federal government in 2017.
However, human rights undersecretary Alejandro Encinas said in February that the agency only spent 6 million pesos last year even though it had a budget of almost 470 million pesos (US $24.5 million).
“That budget was only on paper,” he charged, adding that this year all of the 400 million pesos allocated to the CNB will be used.
Source: El Universal (sp)