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MEXICO CITY — A Mexican mayor and his wife were "probable masterminds" behind the disappearance of 43 student teachers last month in the restive southwest, the country's attorney general said on Wednesday. The students went missing on Sept. 26 from Iguala in the southwestern state of Guerrero, after they clashed with police. The incident sent shockwaves across Mexico and undermined President Enrique Pena Nieto's claims that Mexico is getting safer under his watch.

So far, federal authorities have arrested 52 people in connection with the incident, including dozens of police who have links to a gang called Guerreros Unidos, or "United Warriors." The gang's leader, Sidronio Casarrubias, was caught last week. Thousands marched in Iguala on Wednesday to protest the disappearance of the teachers in training. After the march, masked men set fire to the municipal offices with Molotov cocktails and smashed the windows. In Mexico City, Attorney General Jesus Murillo said Casarrubias had told prosecutors that Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, had ordered two local police forces to stop the students from disrupting a political event that day.

Photos displayed during a press conference with Mexico's General Attorney show, from left, Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca, his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa and security secretary Felipe Flores Velazquez.Mexican office of General Attorney via EPA