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Mexico Apologizes For Death Of 2 Students

The Mexican government apologized this week to the families of two college students who were shot to death by soldiers and falsely accused of being members of an organized crime operation in 2010.

The soldiers, amid a shootout with gunmen, killed the students moments after they had left a library on the campus of the Tec de Monterrey university in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, and then planted weapons on the students and claimed they were gunmen, government officials said this week.

Jorge Antonio Mercado Alonso, 23, and Javier Francisco Arredondo Verdugo, 24, were graduate students.

In a ceremony on the Tec de Monterrey campus, Sanchez Cordero said the government would guarantee such killings would never happen again. She also apologized for officials altering the crime scene to taint the students’ names and reputations.

"They were students, not hit men," she said.

Mexican authorities are believed to have taken part in many other cases of false positives, said Pablo Girault, a board member of the non-profit Mexico United Against Crime, which advocates on behalf of victims.

"They should take up the responsibility for all the cases, investigate them and put those who have committed them in jail," Girault said.

Jorge Valencia joined KJZZ in August 2016 as the station's first senior field correspondent based in Mexico City. His reporting focuses on the business and economics between Arizona and Mexico.Valencia previously covered the North Carolina statehouse in Raleigh for North Carolina Public Radio. He reported on a controversial law that curtailed protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and on voting rights and environmental policy issues. He also reported on the shooting of three Arab-American students, traveling to Turkey's border with Syria to report on a project the students had started to help Syrian refugees.Valencia began his journalism career covering crime for the Roanoke Times of Virginia and in internships with newspapers including the Wall Street Journal. He has been the recipient of multiple journalism awards for his work in radio and in newspapers. Valencia studied journalism at the University of Maryland and grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.