Daily World News Digest, 22 May 2015

Mexico investigates new Guerrero disappearances

The BBC reports today that Mexican federal investigators are looking into the disappearance of at least 15 people in the city of Chilapa in Guerrero state, after it was overrun in early May by hundreds of gunmen. Families told police the gunmen claimed they were community police and took away several young men. Chilapa has been caught in battles between two rival drug gangs fighting for territorial control. Local media say the number of disappeared could be much higher. Last year, 43 students disappeared in another town in Guerrero, Iguala. The gunmen overran Chilapa between 9 and 14 May, disarming local police and forcing the police chief to leave. They said they had come to end violence in the city between rival drug gangs Los Rojos and Los Ardillos, and said some police officers were working for Los Rojos. The gunmen later returned the police weapons. After they left, some residents said the gunmen had been kidnapping and rounding up men. Most of the men were said to be under 30. http://bbc.in/1dohLEt

On the trail of Thailand’s human traffickers

The BBC reports today on what it says is a profitable connection between people traffickers and entire communities in Thailand. The principal victims are Rohingya Muslims, who face persecution in Myanmar. The UN estimates more than 120,000 Rohingyas have fled in the past three years. Traffickers usually take the migrants by sea to Thailand then overland to Malaysia, but Thailand recently began cracking down on the migrant routes, meaning traffickers are using sea routes instead. “The price for a cargo of 300 people, we were told by several sources including Thai police, was $20,000 or more. Then the migrants were held in the jungle until their families paid a ransom, usually $2,000 – $3,000 per person, a huge sum for people usually doing low-end jobs in Malaysia.” http://bbc.in/1F5clF7

Syria: Call for the release of three detainees

FIDH, the International Federation for Human Rights, issued a statement on 19 May highlighting the case of three prominent human rights defenders whom it says have been arbitrarily detained since February 2012 for promoting and protecting human rights in Syria and were last seen on 3 May 2015. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, which is associated with FIDH, “is deeply concerned by their enforced disappearance and calls for their immediate and unconditional release,” the statement says. Mazen Darwish, Hani Al-Zaitani and Hussain Ghrer, respectively President and members of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, were detained in February 2012. On 10 May, authorities at Adra Prison, where the three had been held, stated that they had been taken for interrogation outside the prison. http://bit.ly/1JwKR0w

New Zealand hiker’s remains identified after 42 years

The BBC reported on 21 May that the body of a New Zealand hiker has been formally identified more than 40 years after he disappeared. David Erik Moen was 19 when he was caught in an avalanche on the Tasman Glacier in New Zealand’s South Island, in 1973. It was not until earlier this year that his remains were found, and his identity confirmed through DNA testing. “We cannot put into words what it feels like to have David returned to us after all this time but we are taken back to when he first went missing in 1973,” Mr Moen’s family said in a statement. http://bbc.in/1Hy8Uty

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.