The interim mayor of the southern Mexican town where 43 students went missing in September filed his resignation just hours after taking office. The abrupt move leaves the town leaderless yet again, as the previous mayor, who was accused of playing a role in the students’ disappearances, remains on the lam.
Luis Raúl Mazón Alonso, a schoolteacher, took office Wednesday morning as mayor of Iguala in Mexico’s Guerrero state. But seven hours later, he submitted a letter of resignation to the state congress, saying he was unhappy with the local administration.
“I was witness to a sad situation for the citizens of my municipality, who have a council that only looks out for its own personal interests,” Mazon wrote, noting there were a few exceptions within the administration. “After seeing how some only look out for their own benefit, I prefer to remain the humble friend that everyone knows and go on with my life in peace and quiet,” he added.
Mazón had replaced previous mayor José Luis Abarca, who has been in hiding after dozens of students from a teachers’ training college were shot at by town police on Sept 26. Three students died, and 43 have been missing ever since. Investigators believe that Abarca and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, both thought to have strong ties to organized crime groups, ordered police to attack the students for fear they would disrupt a speech being given by Pineda that day. Both Abarca and Pineda are considered fugitives, with outstanding warrants for their arrest.
Mazón’s departure adds further tumult to a town that has been the epicenter of escalating anger and frustration against Mexican authorities for impunity and corruption within security forces. Guerrero has seen a spate of mass protests over the student disappearances, and the national outcry has threatened to derail President Enrique Peña Nieto’s economic-focused agenda for the country.