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Mexican mayor accused of partying while police slaughtered students

Jose Luis Abarca has done a runner since a mass grave was recently found.

Mexico Violence Source: AP/Press Association Images

A MAYOR IN southern Mexico was accused of negligence today for attending a party instead of stopping violence by police that left six people dead and 43 students missing.

Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca, who has gone into hiding, failed to protect the students during shootings on 26 September that also wounded 25 people, said Guerrero state prosecutor Inaky Blanco.

He preferred to continue to be at a party and later have dinner and then sleep, and left the victims at the mercy of public security members.

Blanco said four more municipal police officers have been arrested on homicide charges, in addition to 22 who were detained last week for opening fire on buses the students had commandeered to go home.

Surveillance cameras showed students being taken away in patrol cars.

Officials also arrested four alleged members of the Guerreros Unidos gang, which prosecutors say worked hand-in-hand with police during the assault.

Mexico Violence A mass grave where it's though the students' bodies were dumped. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The case has outraged Mexicans, who held protests across the country Wednesday to demand the return of the students, all young men from a teachers training college in Guerrero, a state plagued by violence and poverty.

Fears over their fate rose last weekend after authorities found a mass a grave containing 28 unidentified bodies.

Two Guerreros Unidos hitmen confessed to executing 17 of the students at the same grave site.

But authorities say it will take weeks to confirm the identities of the badly burned bodies while families of the missing refuse to believe they are dead.

The case could become one of the worst massacres in a drug war that has left tens of thousands of people dead and 22,000 missing since 2006.

Mexico Violence Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca with his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa Source: AP/Press Association Images

Mexican media, citing an intelligence services report, said Abarca’s wife had asked police to confront the students because she had been worried that they would interrupt a speech she was giving that day.

Her husband then told police to punish the students, the report says.

Blanco said his office has not received any complaints against the mayor’s wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa, whose two late brothers were members of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, which founded the Guerreros Unidos.

Abarca requested a 30-day leave of absence before vanishing a few days after the attacks.

Read: Police disarmed after accusations of conspiring with crime gang over 43 missing students>

Mass grave in Mexico being linked to disappearance of 43 students>

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