Mexico governor steps down over student disappearances24 october 2014, 15:43
The governor of the Mexican state where 43 students vanished a month ago following a confrontation with police allegedly linked to a major drug cartel has bowed to pressure to stand down, AFP reports.
Family and loved ones of the missing students had repeatedly called for Guerrero governor Angel Aguirre to go in the wake of the scandal that has triggered nationwide and international outrage.
"I have decided to take my leave from the state parliament," Aguirre told a news conference Thursday, adding he was stepping down to assist the investigation into the disappearances.
The haggard-looking governor said he hoped his decision would create a "political climate which allows attention to these matters and their solution".
Mexico authorities on Wednesday ordered the arrest of the mayor of the city of Iguala, his wife and an aide, charging that they masterminded last month's attack that left six students dead and 43 missing.
Local officials say the mayor ordered police linked to the the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel to conduct the attack, which could prove to be one of the worst slaughters Mexico has witnessed since the drug war intensified in 2006.
The mayor's wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, is the sister of at least three known drug traffickers, and the couple has ties to Guerreros Unidos, authorities said.
Mexican authorities have searched in vain for any trace of the teachers college students who disappeared on September 26, in a case that has sparked mass demonstrations that resulted in the Iguala city hall being torched Wednesday.
Around 100 teachers peacefully occupied the city hall of the Mexican tourist resort town of Acapulco, also in Guerrero state, to demand action on finding the students.
The demonstration was held under the close watch of around 1,000 regional security personnel deployed to guard federal government buildings.
And on Wednesday tens of thousands of people marched through Mexico City, while students with t-shirts tied around their faces took control of the tollbooths on the Acapulco-Chilpancingo highway as part of a protest in Guerrero state.
Aguirre is only able to take leave from his post -- not resign -- and he did not specify how long he planned to be absent.
The next gubernatorial elections for Guerrero state are scheduled for June 2015, meaning Aguirre could theoretically not return to office.
The student disappearances have shone a light on the murky relationships between corrupt officials, police and drug cartels in Mexico.
One theory behind the disappearance is that Abarca ordered Iguala's police force to attack the politically vocal students over fears they would disrupt a speech by his wife.
Authorities say Iguala police shot at buses carrying the students and handed them over to officers in the neighboring town of Cocula, who then delivered them to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang.
Authorities have found several mass graves in Iguala but say 28 sets of remains examined so far do not correspond to the students.
Searchers are still desperately combing the area for the missing students by land and air.