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Despite continuing doubts, Mexican government affirms 43 students burned at dump

Mexico's attorney general's office remained convinced on Monday that many of the 43 students who disappeared in 2014 were killed and incinerated at a garbage dump, one day after an independent experts' report said it did not happen.

Tomás Zerón, the director of its criminal investigation agency, said there could have been errors in the investigation but they remain confident in the forensic science and the conclusion, adding that 100 investigators were involved.

"We can't be wrong," Zerón said on Enfoque Radio Monday. Zerón's office has been one of the principal actors in the investigation of the students' disappearance Sept. 26, 2014, in the southern state of Guerrero.

Francisco Cox, one of the experts on the independent commission sent by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, told Milenio television that it is possible the students were burned elsewhere, but not at the dump.

In response to the report, Attorney General Arely Gómez said she would order a new examination of what happened at the dump.

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Late Monday, Eber Omar Betanzos Torres, deputy attorney general for human rights, told The Associated Press that discussions were underway to select a group of pre-eminent investigators to make a third examination of the dump.

"The attorney general's office has always been interested in meeting the highest international standards, which implies carefully reviewing all of the profiles of those who make up the group ... with the best profile of neutrality, impartiality, transparency to offer total certainty," he said.

The independent experts' report dismantled the government's long-held official version and found numerous problems in the investigation. Parents of the students have long refused to accept the government's version.

Only one student was successfully identified from a bone fragment that the government said was thrown with other remains reduced to ash into a river.

The independent experts hired their own fire expert to study the scene. He concluded that it was not possible that a fire of the magnitude necessary to reduce the bodies to ash occurred at the dump.

The experts' report put forward another possible motive for the attack that one of the buses the students seized in Iguala was carrying a drug load. The city is a known hub for opium paste coming out of surrounding mountains.

President Enrique Peña Nieto said Monday that he was willing to meet with the students' parents and the independent experts.

"I want to know the truth," he said at an event in the central state of Puebla.

The Mexican government has agreed to extend the experts' term so they can conclude their investigation.

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