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10 Revelations From Students Who Saw Their Classmates Hauled Away, Killed In Mexico

On Tuesday, two Ayotzinapa students took part in a livestream broadcast from Mexico and recalled surviving an attack in Iguala, Guerrero, that resulted in the disappearance of 43 students on that Sept. 26. Here's what they said.

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1. “They were shooting at us.”

Uriel Alonso, in his second year at Ayotzinapa Normal School, said a group of students were walking through Guerrero asking for money to travel to Mexico City to participate in a demonstration marking the killing of students and residents by soldiers and police on Oct. 2, 1968.

The classmates walked to the bus station in the center of Iguala, Guerrero, where the students convinced five bus drivers to take them back to their school before heading to the capital. Alonso said moments later he noticed the municipal police were trailing the caravan. Suddenly, he said, they turned on their sirens and started to shoot at them.

“They were shooting at us," Alonso said. "We told the bus drivers to speed up.”

2. The buses attempted to leave Iguala, but were stopped by police.

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Madres y padres de #Ayotzinapa encabezan la marcha, cuentan al #43, piden justicia. #1DMX #YaMeCanse

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A female officer cut them off and stopped her patrol vehicle in front of the caravan.

The Ayotzinapa students first tried to push the car off the road, but stopped when other police officers started to shoot at them, Alonso said. A student standing next to him fell on the ground after he was shot in the face. The rest of the students ran for shelter as the hail of bullets continued.

"In that moment, we thought our time had come and we would never see our families again," Alonso said.

3. The students, all male, said they were worried that if they left, police would destroy evidence of what had occurred.


Ayotzinapa Normal School students Uriel Alonso (right) and Omar Garcia (center) recount the alleged attack on Tuesday during a livestream.


The students called an ambulance and convinced the cops to let the paramedics take the student who was shot in the face, Alonso said. The police negotiated with the students, initially telling them they would detain them and nothing would happen, but the classmates declined.

"They told us to go or else they would come back for us and we would regret it," Alonso said.

4. A group of students, however, were loaded into police vehicles.

Alonso said police officer lined up his classmates, their hands on their heads, and forced them into patrol cars.

"We never imagined they would be part of an orchestrated disappearance," he said.

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said the students were kidnapped and likely killed by members of a drug cartel after being corralled by local police on the order of Jose Luis Abarca, mayor of Iguala, Guerrero.

5. A convoy of masked men arrived hours later and fired at the group.

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Hours later, other Ayotzinapa students and professors, having received calls from their anxious classmates, arrived at the scene, Alonso said. At around 1 a.m., a convoy of masked men in cars parked behind the local police and started to shoot at the crowds of students.

Alonso said he hid for six hours two blocks away with five other students in the rain.

"In that moment, it was run or die," Alonso said. "We thought that if they killed us, no one would know what had happened."


6. A group of Ayotzinapa students was asked to identify a disfigured student.

The following day, students were asked to help identify the body of one of their own. The student, Julio Cesar Mondragon, was found with his face ripped off, burnt hands and his eyes missing, Alonso said.

“It was one of the worst things that could’ve happened to a student,” Alonso said.

7. “I could feel the bullets flying through the air.”

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Omar Garcia was one of the Ayotzinapa Normal School students who arrived at the scene after receiving calls from his classmates. He hid behind a post when the masked men started to shoot at the group.

"I could feel the bullets flying through the air," the second-year student said. "I saw two of my classmates fall to the ground, one was three meters away and the other was five meters away."

8. The masked men who parked their cars behind the police shot with precision, students said.

Jorge Dan Lopez / Reuters

When the shots stopped and the Ayotzinapa classmates heard the armed men reloading they ran, Garcia said.

“The shooters were very organized,” he said.

9. Soldiers stationed nearby refused to help the students.

Jorge Dan Lopez / Reuters

A group carried a wounded student to a local clinic after residents warned them from inside their homes that the local police would look for them at the hospital. No one was available to treat him.

Then a group of soldiers arrived at the clinic, Garcia said they held the students in a room and refused to call an ambulance. Meanwhile, a wounded student who was bleeding out wrote a note to Garcia on a newspaper he grabbed from a nearby desk.

“Please help me, I’m dying,” he wrote.

10. The remaining Ayotzinapa students said they would continue to search for their missing classmates.

Enrique Marcarian / Reuters

Garcia said the soldiers left, threatening to call the local police. The group then called a taxi and took the injured student to a hospital where he is still recovering.

“This isn’t just about 43 students, this is about a whole country,” Garcia said. “We can’t rest, we won’t rest, until we find our classmates.”