Missing activist found dead in Mexico’s troubled Guerrero

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A human rights activist was found dead in the mountains of the troubled southern state of Guerrero more than a month after he disappeared, authorities and fellow activists said Wednesday.

Guerrero Attorney General Jorge Zuriel de los Santos Barrila said authorities confirmed around midday the discovery of the corpse of Arnulfo Cerón Soriano, who disappeared Oct. 11 from the city of Tlapan de Comonfort. The body was found along a road between the city and Igualita, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) away.

Zuriel said two people detained in recent weeks have been charged, and four others under arrest are being investigated as suspects.

Cerón led the Mountain Popular Front, which said via Facebook that he will be missed and may he “rest in peace.” It previously said he had been the victim of a “forced disappearance.”

Another rights group, Tlachinollan, said Cerón had been buried about three yards (meters) deep in a clandestine grave.

The mountains of Guerrero are home to cultivations of poppy fields for opium and numerous armed groups, and the state has seen some of the worst violence of Mexico’s drug wars.

It’s also the state where 43 teachers’ college students disappeared in 2014 at the hands of police and cartel killers in one of the darkest moments of the country’s recent history.

Tlachinollan said Cerón and others with Mountain Popular Front had been the target of smear campaigns by local authorities, creating a “permissive” environment for the attack.

“We cannot avoid that the conditions of insecurity that prevail in Tlapa; the collusion of the municipal authorities and other institutions with organized crime; and the lack of guarantees so that human rights defenders and social activists, Arnulfo in particular, may do their work; led to the disappearance and cowardly killing of the social fighter,” Tlachinollan said in a statement.