Federal security forces arrested the fugitive ex-mayor of Iguala and his wife in an operation carried out early this morning in a borough of the Federal District.
José Luis Abarca and María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa had been renting a home in the poor and crime-riddden borough of Iztapalapa. Media reports suggested the owner of the house had notified authorities of the identity of the tenants.
The two are wanted in connection with the murders of six people on September 26 during a night of violence in Iguala, Guerrero, in which another 25 people were wounded and 43 students of the Ayotzinapa teacher’s college disappeared. A massive search effort for those missing students has been under way for the past month, but none has been found.
Authorities hope that the ex-mayor and his wife, who are believed to have ordered the attack on Ayotzinapa students to prevent them from disrupting a presentation by Pineda Villa, will give them leads on the whereabouts of the students and details on the events that took place that night.
The couple have been linked with organized crime, specifically the Guerreros Unidos, who have also been implicated in the September 26 attacks.
Their Mexico City hideout was a modest three-room house with broken windows.
Yesterday, parents of the missing, along with Ayotzinapa students, called a press conference to express frustration with the process of creating a joint committee to monitor the search efforts. The committee’s formation was one of the points agreed upon by parents and families when they met for six hours last week with President Peña Nieto.
They accused the president of sending “low-level” bureaucrats to an organizational meeting yesterday, and that no substantial information concerning the search was offered. They withdrew from the meeting after nearly three hours, charging that the government was “toying with their pain.”
Said one parent, “. . . it’s not fair to have them toy with us. We are poor people and pesants, that is not fair.”
Another suggested they would use other means to find their students. “We ask the president to tell us if he is going to be unable to do anything, because we are willing to employ other methods to find our children.”
Government representatives at the meeting included the Under-Secretary of the Interior, Luis Enrique Miranda, the official spokesman of the president’s office, Eduardo Sánchez, and National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido.
In contrast, the Interior Secretariat took a more positive view. It announced later in the day that a committee made up of parents, Ayotzinapa students, civil organizations and the federal government had been established. It will establish mechanisms for the sharing of information with the intention of respecting the right of the participants to collaborate in the search.