Mexican state governor steps down as anger grows over slow response to missing students

Angel Aguirre was governor of state where 43 teaching students disappeared last month

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The governor of the Mexican state where 43 students disappeared last month has stepped down amid growing criticism.

Angel Aguirre, 58, the governor of Mexico’s southern Guerrero state, claimed he hoped his leave of absence would create “a more favourable political climate to bring about the solution to the crisis.”

Mr Aguire cannot resign by law. His successor will be chosen by Guerrero’s state assembly.

Since the disappearance of 43 teaching students in the town of Iguala on 26 September, Mr Aguire, a member of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), has faced mounting criticism.

Despite this, PRD leader Carlos Navarrete said: “Let it be clear that Angel Aguirre, even though he's no longer in the job, will be ready to contribute to investigations to clear up the fact”.

Eyewitnesses described seeing students bundled into police cars after police allegedly opened fire on the buses carrying the students into the town. Six people were killed during the clashes in Iguala.

Yesterday, Mexico’s attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam said there appeared to be deep ties across the southern state between politicians, police and drug gangs. Three arrest warrants have been issued for Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca, his wife and the town’s chief of police. They are suspected of handing over the students to local gang leaders. All three suspects have been reported as missing.

 

The students were in Iquala on 26 September to protest against what they said were discriminatory hiring practises and to collect funds for their college.

A total of 52 people, including police officers, local officials and gang members have been arrested in the case, including links to a gang called Guerreros Unidos, or United Warriors.

The incident has angered large swathes of the Mexican population, who have taken to the streets to protest the slow pace of police investigation after President Enrique Peña Nieto claimed that Mexico is getting safer under his rule.

Additional reporting from Reuters

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