families and friends protest disappearance of seven young people Missing: families and friends protest disappearance of seven young people. La jornada/Alfredo Valadez

Soldiers implicated in disappearance of 7

Sedena says evidence points to Armed Forces' involvement

Armed Forces personnel are under investigation amid claims by civilians that soldiers were involved in the disappearance two weeks ago of seven young people in Zacatecas.

The National Defense Secretariat, Sedena, said on Sunday there was evidence that soldiers from the 11th Military Zone had been involved when the five men and two women disappeared July 7 in Calera de Víctor Rosales.

Two days later, the bodies of four people were discovered in the municipality of Jerez and another three were found in the same municipality on July 11, but because they were in an advanced state of decomposition identification has not yet been completed.

Family members said soldiers from the Fresnillo military base arrived at the victims’ homes in four army vehicles and claimed to be conducting an operation in search of drugs and firearms. They accused Army personnel of forcibly removing the seven — two of whom were reported to be minors — from their homes and taking them away.

Sedena said in a statement that information regarding the investigation, which is continuing, had been passed on to the federal Attorney General.

It also said that it would not tolerate any illegal activity by soldiers and if there was any evidence they had done so they would be investigated and punished with strict adherence to the law.

Concerns about the Armed Forces overstepping their authority have been raised since they were first deployed to take on the drug cartels. More recently, seven soldiers are facing charges in connection with the massacre of 22 civilians in June 2014 in Tlatlaya, State of México, an event that the Army and state and federal officials attempted to cover up.

Families and supporters of the 43 students of the Ayotzinapa teacher training college, kidnapped and murdered last September, have accused the Armed Forces of being involved in that incident as well.

Source: Zacatecas en Imagen (sp), Milenio (sp), La Jornada (sp)

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