Mexican soldiers suspected in 7 disappearances

2015-07-21 11:16

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Mexico City - Mexican military investigators have found evidence showing that soldiers were likely involved in the disappearance of seven young people in northern Zacatecas state, the defence ministry said on Monday.

Relatives of the two women and five men have told local media that they were detained by soldiers in a house in the town of Calera on July 7.

Their bodies were found in a neighbouring town with signs of torture and execution-style bullet wounds to the head over the weekend, or 11 days later, according to their families.

The defence ministry said in a statement that military prosecutors "found evidence of a probable participation of military personnel" in connection with "the disappearance" of the group.

The statement does not say whether the soldiers are suspected of murder, or how many troops were investigated. It said soldiers would be detained if they are found to have violated military discipline.

Civilian prosecutors have launched their own investigation into the case, an official in the attorney general's office said. The army said it would share its findings with civilian prosecutors.

Public service rules

It is the latest allegation of abuse to hit Mexico's armed forces.

On Sunday, a vigilante group in the western state of Michoacan accused soldiers of attacking civilians who protested the arrest of their leader in the municipality of Aquila.

A 12-year-old boy died from a gunshot wound while four other people were hurt, including two other minors. The army blamed an armed group for the casualties.

The government's National Human Rights Commission said that it sent investigators to probe the cases in Zacatecas and Michoacan.

Troops have faced several allegations of committing abuses since they were deployed in 2006 to combat drug cartels.

Three soldiers have been charged with murder over the suspected extrajudicial execution of at least eight of 22 gang suspects in central Mexico last year.

Another four soldiers face lesser charges of violating public service rules.

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