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Jose Luis Abarca mayor
Jose Luis Abarca at a mayoral event in 2013DCSI via Facebook

Fugitive mayor arrested over Mexico student kidnapping

Iguala politician Jose Luis Abarca has been linked to the disappearance of 43 protesters from a teacher training college

Jose Luis Abarca, the Iguala mayor believed to be involved in the disappearance of 43 student protesters, has been arrested by police in Mexico City. His wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda has also been detained.

The pair went on the run after the country's attorney general said that they were the "probable masterminds" of the mass kidnapping, describing Pineda as the "main operator of criminal activities" in Iguala. Both have suspected ties to Guerreros Unidos, the local heroin cartel.

Students from a nearby teacher training college disappeared after clashing with police during a protest about hiring policy. It is believed that Abarca ordered the police force to prevent the protesters from disrupting his wife's speech at an event on the same day. 

Police opened fire during the protests and killed six, but reportedly handed over the 43 students to Guerreros Unidos. The protesters have not been seen since – nobody knows if they're still alive, and the excavation of several mass graves still have not led authorities any closer to their whereabouts.

Protesters have hit the streets of Mexico in their thousands to demand the safe return of the students, with many expressing a mounting sense of outrage over the failure of the Mexican government to address state corruption and organised drug crime. Now that Abarca and Pineda have been taken in for questioning, it is hoped that they can provide leads on the location of the missing protesters.