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Mayor, wife held in missing persons case

Published:Wednesday | November 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

MEXICO CITY (AP): FEDERAL POLICE early yesterday detained the former mayor of the southern Mexican city of Iguala and his wife, who are accused of ordering the September 26 attacks on teachers' college students that left six dead and 43 still missing.

José Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, were arrested in Mexico City without resisting, according to two security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the press.

The couple was in the custody of the Attorney General's Office, where they were giving statements. At least 56 other people have been arrested so far in the case, and the Iguala police chief is still a fugitive.

outraged demonstrations

The couple's detention could shed light on disappearances, which have prompted outraged demonstrations across the country to demand the students be found. The case forced the resignation of the governor of Guerrero state, where Iguala is located.

The students from a rural teachers college had gone to Iguala to canvass for donations and authorities say Abarca ordered the attack on them, believing the students were aiming to disrupt a speech by Pineda. They say the assault was carried out by police working with the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel. Authorities say Pineda was a main operative in the cartel.

They also have said the drug gang essentially ran the town of Iguala, with Abarca receiving payments of two million to three million pesos (US$150,000-US$220,000) every few weeks, as a bribe and to pay off his corrupt police force.