A Mexican mothers’ association has discovered the charred remains of up to 50 people at an “extermination camp” used by drug traffickers to eliminate traces of their victims.
The organisation Madres Buscadoras de Sonora (Searching Mothers of Sonora) found the clandestine crematorium following an anonymous tip-off on social media.
The group is made up of the relatives of missing persons suspected of being the victims of drug cartels.
The mothers’ organisation referred to the site, located in the municipality of Santa Ana in the Mexican state of Sonora, as an “extermination camp” and believes the remains of up to 50 victims are located there. They claimed they unearthed eight victims at the site.
The group said: “We located an extermination camp in Santa Ana, Sonora. The number of remains is unknown. We received an anonymous tip-off on social media that furnaces were used there to incinerate people.”
The organisation’s head, Cecilia Flores Armenta, said they were allegedly threatened in the area by suspected drug traffickers, who threw spikes on the ground to prevent their vehicle from entering.
At the site, burned clothing and a large number of bones were found. The authorities took the evidence away for forensic examination to identify as many of the victims as possible.
Despite the association’s estimate of 50 bodies and eight already found, the State Prosecutor’s Office said only two bodies have been recovered so far. However, it is unclear if they expect to identify more.
Over 95,000 people are registered as missing in Mexico, with over 93,000 of those disappearances occurring since 2006, when the government launched its war against organised crime.
Most victims are believed to have been killed by drug cartels and their bodies dumped in shallow graves, burned or dissolved in acid.