By Jude Webber
Their 43 expressionless faces stare out from a double-page advertisement by Mexico’s government in the national press. The banner headline reads: “Reward”.
But they are not the grainy photos of drug lords with prices on their heads. These underprivileged youths from a rural teacher-training college, missing and feared dead after clashes with local police on September 26 are, as activist priest Alejandro Solalinde says, the brutal reminder that “Mexico is sown with corpses”.
Despite a manhunt for the students and their abductors, the only clues appear to lead to mass graves on the hilltops outside the town of Iguala, 130km south of Mexico City. Residents say the area echoes at night with shots and screams. Pictures on social media of a body dumped in the street after the disappearances spread the horror worldwide: its bloodied face was stripped of skin and its eyes gouged out.