May 19, 2015 / 11:31 PM / in 3 years

Fifteen people missing in Mexican state where 43 students massacred

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Fifteen people have disappeared from the violent southwestern Mexican state where 43 trainee teachers were feared massacred last year, the state attorney general’s office said on Tuesday.

Announcing an investigation into the disappearance, the attorney general’s office of Guerrero state said the 15 went missing last week from the town of Chilapa, the scene of recent violence ahead of local and national elections on June 7.

Guerrero has for years been plagued by widespread drug-related crime and political corruption, and the 15 disappeared after an armed vigilante group entered Chilapa and took control of local policing from the municipal authorities.

Eleven of those missing have been reported kidnapped, while four more have disappeared, the attorney general’s office said.

Chilapa is less than 200 kilometers (124 miles) away from Iguala, the city where the 43 students went missing last September, sparking nationwide protests and plunging Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto into a deep political crisis.

The government says the students were abducted by corrupt local police, who handed them over to a violent drug gang that killed them and incinerated their bodies. The remains of just one of the 43 has so far been identified.

Earlier this month, a mayoral candidate in Chilapa was shot dead. In November last year, police found 5 decapitated and burned bodies in the back of a pickup truck in the town.

More than 100,000 people have died in violence linked to Mexico’s drug gangs since 2007.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter. Editing by Andre Grenon

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