Relatives of the three students who allegedly died after being chased and shot by soldiers on Wednesday, demonstrated outside the offices of the federal Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. They demanded delivery of the remains of the 3 students and information on the condition and whereabouts of the fourth teenager who disappeared into the custody of the Mexican army.
At the headquarters of the PGR, the parents of the victims demanded federal authorities hand over the bodies of Cesar Alejandro Cuellar, 15 years old, Eduardo Cuellar, 17, and Daniel Hernandez, 13.
On board a public transport bus covered by posters with captions like, "they were students not criminals" and "stop the violence" the mourners arrived and demonstrated at the office of the Human Rights Commission where they also lodged a formal complaint against the Mexican army.
Last Wednesday, at approximately 12:30 PM a convoy of soldiers chased the high school students traveling in a white Dodge Ram pickup after the vehicle allegedly passed without stopping at a military checkpoint on the riverfront at the ejido Los Cavazos .
Witnesses say soldiers shot them, "the truck was in the middle of the asphalt with traces of bullet impacts and the students in their school uniforms, another wounded student was taken."
On Friday, Mauricio Soto, uncle of one of the victims, revealed that a fourth student, identified as Oscar Olivares Acevedo, 17, accompanied the other three boys and is now missing. The boy’s family has no information on his status.
According to Mr. Soto, last Thursday he and other relatives arrived at the military barracks facilities to obtain information on the incident, request the return of the bodies, and verify that Oscar had been arrested but they were threatened physically and verbally by the soldiers present.
"Then we went to the PGR and were told that they knew nothing of Oscar, and that to retrieve the bodies of the three children, we first had to go to the office of the Deputy Attorney General, Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (SIEDO) in Mexico City for an official release form. Only with that release form will they deliver the remains of the children to us." Mr Soto said. “They have no respect for our pain.”
Protests also occured over the shooting of 3 men by federal police in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas that occured last Thursday. One man was killed and 2 others were injured.
Family members plan to file complaints against the federal police over what they say was an attack on 4 unarmed civilians.
As of late Saturday federal authorities had not released any information or report on the incident.
Tamaulipas has been overwhelmed by violence since February of this year as the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas fight for domination of the drug trafficking routes in the state. The army and federal police are present in force to combat the violence and restore security.
Unfortunately there have been several incidents of collateral damage against civilians by the military. These incidents have been universally mismanaged by the federal forces. At the same time many more civilians have been victimized by the drug cartels.
This is the sad legacy of the drug cartel’s war against the rule of law in Mexico.