Mexican authorities have uncovered a mass grave near a town where 43 university students went missing last week.
The bodies were discovered buried in pits near the town of Iguala Saturday. Authorities haven't officially released many details yet, but government sources told Mexican magazine Proceso at least 20 bodies were recovered. (Video via Al Jazeera)
The gruesome discovery comes one week after a demonstration in Iguala turned deadly. Students protesting discriminatory hiring practices were fired on by local police and gunmen. Six people were killed and 17 injured in the violence.
Forty-three students went missing in the aftermath. Witnesses reported last seeing some of the missing protesters being forced into police vans. Friends and family of the missing have canvassed the town and organized marches demanding the government locate their loved ones.
Investigators have not yet identified the bodies, and the state prosecutor in charge of the investigation said it would be "irresponsible" to link the disappeared students to the mass graves before a proper DNA analysis is conducted.
But the whole incident has highlighted rampant corruption in Iguala: 22 police officers with links to criminal gangs were arrested in the aftermath of the protest, and arrest warrants have been issued for the town's mayor and his security chief. (Video via Euronews)
One BBC reporter says the disappearances show just how much influence Mexico's drug cartels and gangs have in some areas of the country.
"This is just a timely and grisly reminder of just how much work there is still to be done to purge the local security forces, the local police of infiltration by the drug cartels."
The state governor has appealed for calm in the region following the discovery of the mass graves.