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Mexico detains fugitive mayor and wife over missing students

AFP/Jesus Guerrero

Mexican police have detained a fugitive ex-mayor and his wife, who are accused of involvement in an attack by police that left six people dead and 43 college students missing.

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Jose Luis Abarca, the former mayor of the southern city of Iguala, and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda "were detained by federal police in Mexico City", a spokesman said.

"There was no violence in the operation," he said, adding that the couple was taken to federal prosecutors to be interrogated.

The students were abducted by police in league with the Guerreros Unidos local drug gang in the southwestern city of Iguala after clashes erupted there on the night of September 26, sparking a huge manhunt.

The arrests come more than a month since the students vanished in a case that has drawn international outrage and exposed Mexico's struggle to tame police corruption and gang violence.

The students remain missing despite a vast search operation in the state of Guerrero, where a dozen mass graves containing 38 unidentified bodies have been discovered.

Abarca, his wife and the city's police chief went on the run two days after the attack.

Authorities say Abarca ordered the officers to confront the students over fears that they would derail a speech by his wife, who was the head of the town's child protection agency.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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