On 26 November, French television channel France 24 reported that two months after the case of the disappearance of 43 normalist students in Iguala, another 31 youth from the neighboring municipality of Cocula were disappeared by organized crime. The high-school students have been missing since 7 July, though the case was not well-known due to the fear of the locals in light of the death-threats issued by those who carried out the disappearances. The final day of classes before the start of summer vacations, masked men dressed in marine blue, seemingly riding in police vehicles, kidnapped the youth as they were leaving the Justo Sierra high school. The school is located just by the mayor’s hall of Cocula. Local police have also been implicated in the Ayotzinapa case. National and international journalistic coverage of the 43 normalists from Ayotzinapa motivated the mother of one of the disappeared youth to break the silence. Other off-camera testimonies confirmed the kidnapping of the youth. However, the Office for National Security (CNS) reported that no denunciation exists, nor is there any report from the educational authorities, regarding the missing 30 students. Beyond this, units from the federal police visited the Justo Sierra high school, and the vice principal claimed not to know anything about the disappearance of any students attending the school. The governor of Guerrero, Rogelio Ortega, indicated that the disappearances of the youth of Cocula took place between 2 and 3 July. He mentioned that this was documented on the Guerrero state-government’s web page, even though “there was no denunciation made.”
It must be stressed that, in the first 10 months of 2014, at least 12 cases of collective disappearances have been seen in Mexico. Cases similar to that of Ayotzinapa, even including the same number of victims, have been presented in seven other states. In the month before the events in Iguala, 199 persons were disappeared. The states with the highest number of victims have been Puebla, Tamaulipas, and Guerrero. A year before the disappearance of the 43 Mexican students in Iguala, there was another night of terror in a neighboring community, where residents relate that an armed commando group invaded various houses and forcibly took groups of people, in their majority youth. Cocula is one of the municipalities of Guerrero where violence has most acutely affected the population. At least 82 have been disappeared, murdered, or kidnapped in the past 3 years.
Another case of extreme violence in the state took place on 27 November: at least 11 burned and decapitated bodies were found on a path by the community of Ayahualulco in Chilapa. In a communique, the State Prosecutorial General’s Office (FGE) reported that the 11 males killed lost their lives due to gunfire and were then semi-burned. Their corpses appeared ridden with gunshot wounds emanating from high-caliber firearms. Beside the bodies, there was a note left that was directed to a criminal group known as “The Squirrels” saying: “There you go, trash.” Chilapa de Álvarez has been the site of other violence episodes this year. Between 8 and 10 July, confrontations were registered between presumed criminals and police that left 14 dead. A day later, six more bodies were found. It was reported that these persons died after a confrontation between two organized-crime gorups.
Reportan desaparición de otros 31 estudiantes en Cocula (Proceso, 26 de noviembre de 2014)
France 24 revela nuevo secuestro masivo de estudiantes en Guerrero (VIDEO) (SDP Noticias, 26 de noviembre de 2014)
Confirma gobernador de Guerrero desaparición de jóvenes en Cocula (La Jornada, 27 de noviembre de 2014)
Afirman autoridades que no hay denuncia sobre secuestro en Cocula (La Jornada, 27 de noviembre de 2014)
La noche olvidada de Cocula (El Faro, 23 de octubre de 2014)
Desaparecen 5 al día tras caso Ayotzinapa (Excelsior, 26 de noviembre de 2014)
Cocula: 82 desaparecidos, asesinados o secuestrados en los tres últimos años (El Sur de Acapulco, 27 de noviembre de 2014)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)
Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)
Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)